A woman who moved to Luxembourg with her partner two years ago has taken the unusual step of directly confronting a rude neighbor instead of first consulting with an online expat group.
For days, Uriella Bodaart and her partner Sam Cogsworth had been kept up late by their neighbor’s nightly habit of playing the “Friends” theme song “I’ll Be There for You” on repeat and at full volume.
“Sam and I had very long discussions about what to do, namely if we should leave the neighbor a note, contact our apartment building's syndicate, or hire a professional animal impersonator to stand outside the neighbor’s window at odd hours and make obnoxious dolphin noises,” she said.
However, Bodaart says that she and Cogsworth remained frozen by indecision as they did not want to break some kind of barely perceptible social rule.
“We didn’t want to make the situation worse, get in trouble with the police, or, due to cultural differences that we do not yet understand, do something that could be misunderstood by the neighbor as an invitation to join us for partner swapping,” Bodaart said. “Dolphin noises can have that effect, at least where I come from.”
In the end, they decided the best course of action in this rather uncomplicated matter would be to post about it in their expats Facebook group, giving every unnecessary detail and depicting themselves as innocent victims and their neighbor as an unsophisticated brute with poor taste in music.
However, as Cogsworth was on the verge of clicking the post button, Bodaart got an idea. What if she just walked upstairs, knocked on the neighbor’s door, and asked him or her to lower the volume?
“Sam assumed I was joking because of the pure audacity of such a move,” Bodaart said. “After wiping away his tears of laughter, he saw I wasn’t joking, and all the color left his face because he was scared – scared for me and the entire expat community that is bound by the tacit agreement to check with each other before doing anything – ever.”
“We’re also bound by another tacit agreement, which is to never venture anywhere in Luxembourg beyond 50 degrees north, for there be werewolves and mullets up in those parts,” Cogsworth added. “So I’ve heard.”
As it turned out, the 50-something neighbor was very receptive to Bodaart’s complaint, she says, agreeing that he should have first checked if everyone in the building was as obsessed with “Friends” as he was, and promising to swap the track for a slightly less annoying 90s TV show theme song such as the one from “Baywatch” or “Seinfeld.”$
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