I live on a fancy street in Melbourne’s inner north. Like, it’s so fancy it doesn’t even have a name, it’s simply called “The Avenue”.
It’s a long street, surrounded by parks and packed to the brim with slightly bourgeois inner-city types who share a penchant for succulents, passive aggressive notes and bureaucracy.
I’ve lived there for several years now, squished into a triangular apartment with three others.
Last night, I was quietly finishing off some work on my living room floor when a hand reached in, past the unlocked fly-wire screen door of our apartment.
I assumed it belonged to one of my housemate’s mums. It didn’t.
Attached to the hand was one of my neighbours, let’s call her “Rosemary” (okay, her name is Rosemary) and in its partner, as in, her other hand, she was holding a piece of paper.
Printed on it was the January 2017 edition — the only edition — of our “Residents Newsletter”.
At first I was delighted, I thanked her sincerely and immediately stuck it on the fridge.
Then I read it. I mean, it was suspiciously official looking for a document my neighbour clearly whipped up in Microsoft Word.
From rubbish collection to bicycle storage, the newsletter outlined all the rules for life in our block and, um, I didn't realise there were any?
But here they were. A set of seven-ish commandments set out in Arial font and handed down from the lofty heights of our newly-invented Owners Corporation Committee.
I believe there is only one member of said "committee", and she moved in two months ago.
Empty your bins. Duh.
Don't leave junk around. I'm grub, but I'm not a monster.
Keep your driveway free of furniture. Okay, admittedly my bike has been locked to the hot water service next to the front door all winter, but it's a constant source of personal shame.
No "oil leaks" on the driveway. WE'RE NOT SUPERHUMAN.
Don't leave your car unlocked. Okay, that's a helpful reminder.
Don't have ragers. Now, occasionally we gather around the box to watch the 7.30 Report and eat cheese, but we're more Pictionary people than party people.
I'll give it to Rosemary. The sentiment is good. The initiative, also incredible — enviable, even. And, I mean, the word processing skills are highly professional BUT it does seem a tad over-the-top? No?
Also this is not our first encounter with pointed notes hand-delivered to our place of residence.
Just a few weeks ago we did, in fact, organise to have a hard rubbish pick up, only to discover the couch intended for collection — by the city council — had been moved to the front of the block and replaced with a passive-aggressive note. (Signed Rosemary. Obviously.)
I've also heard whispers among others that her "gentle reminders" may, as yet, become "less gentle". Yikes.
Okay, look, I know what you're thinking. One in five Australians don't speak to their neighbours AT ALL.
We are blessed. We have an organiser. We are ungrateful (not to mention unclean, probably). And in all honesty maybe it's us who is the problem... but, at the risk of inciting an inter-generational 'Bad Neighbours'-style war, is it? IS IT REALLY??!
I guess I'll pop that question on the agenda for our next committee meeting.
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