So a few months ago, a pair of fratty-bratty young guys moved in next door, replacing the quiet fellows who’d lived there for two years. I’d liked that couple because I neither heard nor saw them, a quality I deem ideal in neighbors. In contrast, since these dudes moved in, they’ve slammed their door whenever they’ve left or arrived, banged up and down the three flights of stairs in what sounds like size 20 tap-dancing combat boots, and produced a cloud of weed smoke that’s constantly invaded our shared hallway and my apartment. Yesterday, totally fed up, I left a terse, irritated note appraising them of the issues and demanding immediate changes. The note contained zero niceties if zero name-calling, and was delivered before I showed them the courtesy of addressing the matter in person. In return they left a super-contrite, super-constructive note with so many well-phrased assurances that they’d correct their behavior that I left a pumpkin at their door with a card thanking them for the diplomacy I’d neglected to demonstrate. It remains to be seen whether they’ll clean up their act. For now I am so grateful they handled the situation with a generosity I seem to have lost in the fifteen years my neighborhood has been changing. O Williamsblergh, the joke is on me. Today I’m the rude neighbor.