Neighbor etiquette

Oh fuck you. You came in here asking what responsibility you had, was told precisely that, and followed up by acting like your neighbor is some lawless hick ready to burn down the house of the helpless city boy. Make up your goddamned mind as to whether you started the topic for advice or to bitch about your neighbor under ridiculous pretenses to make up for the lack of “Retail/Retail workers suck” threads. “Aw shucks, i guess i’ll call the ASPCA”. So much enthusiasm there. The fact is that the possible actions are so obvious that you’d have to be either retarded or fishing for a conscience-soothing response.

“If your solution is “Who cares? They’re just dogs” save it.”

Bullshit. Would you wishwash around this much if it were a child instead? Oh, i guess they ARE just dogs then. Or is the difference between those situations that there’s no one to call so you can simultaneously feel like you did something while keeping your head down? “Oh, animal rights, animal rights! [size=1]As long as i don’t have to do anything beyond signing a petition and start a topic on a webboard.[/size]”

I’m guessing there was some concern about the animals. Time to decide how much, sport. If you’re going to just let it go, great. That’s something for you to deal with on your own when another dog “inevitably” gets hit.

Some people don’t understand. In the country, you let dogs run around. Somethimes they die. Solution, have lots of dogs.

The owner Doesn’t Give A Shit if they play in the street. Nothing can be done here that doesn’t lead to violence between neighbors (and out in the country, Everybody has a Gun).

Actually, I get that. I’ve lived most of my life in the country. But, even if the dogs lives don’t matter, someone still has to go through the damage to their cars, watching little kids cry over it, etc. Not sure having more dogs helps that much :).

We do all have guns though. I should start a family feud or something!

I was all set to jump in here and tease the Jonster some more, but then I read the entire thread and realized something.

He’s right.

Now, none of that excuses the fact that he’s still as petulant and offensive as a five-year who shits his pants in a candy store, but underneath the misdirected rage over his small penis lies some truth. The best advice has already been given - contact the ASPCA, the local animal control, whomever. “Oh, I don’t think they’ll do anything” isn’t a very good reason not to. I’ll give you credit for caring, Robert - I doubt I would, even though I love pets as much as the next guy, even if the next guy is Jon - but if this problem is bugging you the way it seems to, you have to do something. If local pet agencies won’t do anything, that’s not your fault. But if they would and you just pissed away their potential help out of some kind of misguided cynicism; well, that’s partially on you. Hell, call animal control and tell them the dogs tried to bite you. Animal control is supposed to be obligated to come out if an animal bites or tries to bite someone (they may not if they don’t, so if you tell them they haven’t bit anyone, they may not come out). It’s a couple phone calls, maximum. The dogs are worth that much of your time and effort, yes? IM me the guy’s address and the phone number of the local animal control and I’ll do it for you, for God’s sake.

I agree with you Bill (and Jon too for that matter). I guess I should have been more clear when I said above the authorities can do nothing. I DID go to the ASPCA website and look up the laws in TN and none of them would apply. They even have a list of signs of animal cruelty. Again, not applicable. They do, however, have a way to help push for stronger laws against cruelty to animals, which I am getting involved in. The problem is that there is no real cruelty here. In fact, it could just be a difference of opinion on what counts as neglect. I think letting your dogs hang out in the road is neglect, but apparently many people do not agree with me on that. That includes the legal system of my state. The dogs have food and shelter and they aren’t beaten or directly abused. Still, if you think I should contact someone, I will. Whom do you think I should write? It’s just not a legal issue;it’s a moral one, and except in obvious cases, morality is taken to be a relative thing.

Ah. It wasn’t clear to me you had contacted anyone. Never mind. Maybe you should collect cat urine and spray it all over the guy’s lawn; the dogs will be too preoccupied sniffing and re-establishing their scent to bother going into the street. WHY IT’S SO CRAZY IT JUST MIGHT WORK.

Have you ever gone over to the neighbor and actually told him how you feel? I know you said earlier you didn’t think he would listen and I haven’t been following that closely, but it sounds like you haven’t.

If so, I would think that’s got to be the first place to start before you attempt to go to the authorities. You don’t really think he is going to burn down your house because you say it upsets you to think the dogs might get run down, do you? I’m being serious. I’ve lived in the South for a bit in the service, but never lived anywhere that rural, so maybe that is not an unreasonable fear.

I don’t actually think he would burn down my house Tim :). I was just saying I always think that in the back of my mind, when I don’t really know someone. It’s not a serious thought, just a sort of strange recurring one. I suppose I should just talk to him about it. I didn’t see the point since so many other people have already done so and he ignored them. But maybe one more person will do the trick!

I originally thought it was just an unreasonable fear, but then had second thoughts after reading this thread… I just thought maybe that’s how they do it in the rural south. :)

It probably will not work, but you do have strong feelings about it, so it can’t hurt. Good luck!

Rise, thread.

So we live in a quiet terraced London cul de sac, with mostly lovely neighbors. The rental house next to us, which previously had lovely renters, went up for sale, and the worst thing happened: a smoker bought it. She’s a single mum with a four year old, she’s at home all day, and she’s puffing away day and night on cigarettes in her back yard, which of course sends all her smoke into our windows. She definitely smokes inside too, her entryway smells like death, when we handed over some mail for her one day.

So on any day where it’s warm and we have windows open, it’s almost a twice an hour exercise in banging all the windows shut every time she lights up outside. I say banging, because I make damn sure she can hear it to correlate it to her behavior.

( This childish passive aggressive approach worked on our other side neighbor, who used to light up once an evening next door, and switched to vaping and eventually quit. We’re friends now.)

All we feel is impotent rage we need to shield our house and kids from her fumes. She’s a jerk for letting her bad choices infringe on our freedom to breathe clean air. So, how do we get rid of her, maybe with mind bullets? It’s not like we’ll get her to quit. Maybe if we tell her stop smoking outside, or every day I’ll throw a dead cat in her yard? Install some speakers to her fence, and each time she lights up, I play a repeating lyrical loop of “does that cough mean lung cancer?” set to the sound of nails grinding on a chalkboard?

I came up with the following helpful ideas for those wishing death upon a single mum fighting an addiction with a four year old in tow:

  1. Feed her habit with free flavoured cigarettes that you find more pleasurably aromatic (e.g. mentholated, cherry flavour, etc.)
  2. Consider taking up smoking yourselves. That’s not appropriate for your children, but you can make them vape instead.
  3. Tempt her into harder substances more typically delivered nasally or intravenously as a replacement (could be a nice little earner for you on the side?).
  4. Write articles about your unimaginable hardship and how it ties in with the collapse of civilized society. These can be sold to the Daily Mail and used to fund a house move.
  5. Live with the situation as-is and accept your repressed British aptitude for rage will only ever manifest as unconfrontational passive-aggressive lameness like slamming windows and tutting loudly (only once said windows are firmly shut). God forbid you attempt rational conversation in the matter.

It’s ok to be frustrated but damn, d00d.

Hah! I think this is the perfect answer. This forum needs a like button and all that…

Love 4. My neighbours are lovely, so can’t use it for myself. But totally would if I could. :)

haha! yeah… sorry. She’s a bit of a recluse, so we literally wouldn’t know she was there if it weren’t for the cigarettes. It’s what made her basically a giant chimney in our minds, and not so much anyone we can sympathize with. Sure feel sorry for the kid though.

Anyway, yeah, I’m mostly venting, probably because we almost seriously started talking about moving to escape the prospect of living here with her next door (option 4! nice). Which, you know, would probably cost us £30 000 in stamp duty. That’s how much we hate it, £30 000 worth.

But no, we’ll try to talk to her of course. But if there’s one thing I know growing up in Quebec, nothing a smoker likes more than someone telling them not to smoke.


Just be nice - you’ve no idea what her story is and I’m sure having neighbours slamming their windows on you doesn’t make one feel safe and happy in their own home!

Honestly, write her a nice note and tell her you’re sensitive to cigarette smoke and it makes it difficult to breathe. In the same letter say you know it can be hard to quit and that’s not what you’re asking for, but if she could refrain from smoking outdoors it would help your breathing immensely.

That creates unnecessary tension and puts it on her not to do something in her home that she has every right to do.

I am not a smoker and get really annoyed with everything smoking related, I just think this is something @spiffy needs to live with. Put a fan on the window or something. This is one of many reasons apartment/condo living sucks.

On the other hand, it might make her feel guilty about doing it and make her want to move because of it.

Yeah, I mean smoking outside should normally be the polite thing for her to do. That sucks that it gets inside your house. My wife is also sensitive to any smoking and we had to even quit going to restaurants that had smoking sections even remotely close to non-smoking.

Maybe there is another door or place outside her house that she could smoke that wouldn’t reach you that you could talk with her about?

@spiffy, in a situation like this, I’d recommend the same three steps I use when someone is being a nuisance in a movie theater:

  1. Make it clear you’re not being aggressive or mean.
  2. State the problem the person is creating.
  3. Offer a solution.

I find that as long as I can work in all three elements, 90% of the time, the person is apologetic and we’re on the same page. Basically, “Excuse me, sir, but when you talk, it’s really distracting to people in the theater. Could you please wait until after the movie?” Even the 10% of people who take it as a slight tend to be shamed into stopping what they were doing.

So I’d suggest introducing yourself to your neighbor, state that you’re a non-smoker who finds the smoke extremely unpleasant, and…uh, here’s where it gets tricky. I can’t imagine she’d be amenable to being asked to smoke indoors. I mean, if I had a backyard and I were a smoker, I’d want to hang out in my backyard and light up. Maybe you could work out someplace in the backyard farther from your common border, like Kelan suggested? But best case scenario, she’s a conscientious person and talking to her will make her realize she’s being intrusive.

It is a tough situation, but regardless of what you do, don’t do nothing! That’s just assuming the entire burden yourself, which you shouldn’t have to do. So at least make sure you express to her firmly and politely that she’s causing a problem. Otherwise, she might not even know what she’s doing despite your audible window closings.


I changed my mind. I have a new strategy.

Get one of these:

and crawl around naked in your backyard muttering “blipssss bleeeeps smoke. where’s the smokesssssss coming from? siigggissssssssss”

They have smoke filters you can blow smoke into, and it filters the smoke. Maybe you could purchase a smoke filter and ask her to try it out? A smoke filter seems a pretty low effort.

I only know about smoke filters because I don’t allow smoking in the house but my adult daughter lives at home. One day I saw the smoke filter and didn’t know what it was and asked her about it. She explained how it worked and assured me she only purchased it to keep her car smelling nice and clean. I mean, maybe that’s why she bought it, but I’m pretty sure she bought it to get around the rule about smoking in the house, and the story about the car is just a dodge. I’m not smelling any smoke so maybe it’s working or maybe I’m just a really cynical old man?