i called the cops last night on my downstairs neighbor. it’s a single mother family, two daughters (one in college, the other in high school) and a grandmother. in the basement resides the single mother’s sister and her daughter. every so often, with increasing regularity, a large commotion arises from below. fighting: cursing, yelling, large sounds depicting either things being thrown or someone getting hit, stomping, doors slamming. the walls are thin and the emanating vibration of the ruckus travels rather well to our floor. since i am not home regularly i was not aware of this ongoing fighting. i thought it was occasional at best but i was informed by my parents that it was actually rather frequent. this particular night however, my father was rather upset due to his sleep being disturbed by the lack of peace from the first floor family.
i called the cops. i thought, two birds, one stone: my father would get sleep while the first floor family would get a wake up call. “maybe we’re fighting too much. maybe we should just get along.” maybe i thought that this kind of message would transmit clearly as two police cars arrived with four po-pos in tow. “is everything all right miss?” “yes officer, it’s fine. we’re ok.” “ok then. we just received an anonymous disturbance call from your neighbor and it seems that you guys should seriously resolve your problems in as calm a manner as possible otherwise we are going to be forced to lay the smack down on your candyasses.”
now i don’t know if they will get the message and tone their fighting down because honestly every family fights and argues. however, not every family pushes other families to call the cops on them. to be honest, i don’t like the first floor family very much. they never say hi, they always avoid eye contact and leave us demanding notes in our mailbox that usually say something like, “take out your own trash,” or “lock the basement door when leaving the washer/dryer area” or “stop trying to make eye contact with us.” they’re not neighbors you would be envious of. many times, i have been tempted to conduct minor deeds of anonymous mischief (ie. nails in tires, abc gum on doorknobs, keying car doors, etc.) to express my lack of like towards them. now i’ve always imagined these things and i never thought any of them were really wrong but deep inside, a small voice told me that it was. i couldn’t pinpoint exactly why it was but it was clarified when i remembered matthew 22:39,
“Love your neighbor as yourself”
simple enough. i wouldn’t put nails in my own car so i shouldn’t to the first floor family. nor would i put abc gum on my own doorknob or key my own car door. i gotta chill with that homie. however, would i call the cops if my family was fighting to an extreme level? quite possibly yes! thus, i called the cops on the first floor family, and though i did take some delight in it because i’m sure it’s a little embarrassing to have the cops called on you for conducting a little bit of domestic disturbance, i still felt bad for them and their quarrelsome situation because they are fighting all the time and no one really wants to fight all the time especially at home. the home is made to be a place where one can get away from the fighting that occurs in the rest of our lives: away from the office spats, demanding clients, impatient patients (first floor family mother is a nurse), traffic induced rage, people who bump you on the subways and commuter jerkoffs who block train seats with their luggage. even the new york times and all the warfare, violence and disagreement that it touts is something that you sometimes only want to read outside your home, unless of course you get home delivery. how sucky it must be to come home from all of that and then engage in battle with your own kin. and so i dropped my nails, my abc gum, and my keys so i can pray for the first floor family and ask God to bring peace to their household, not only so my dad could sleep but so they could as well.