I've elevated this from a comment in sabotabby
's comments to its own post, because I really am baffled by this. Dictionopolis is one side of a duplex. Our next door neighbours seem like reasonably nice yuppies. He wears snappy suit jackets and nifty hats, and goes out at around 9:30 every morning. In the evenings he walks his little dogs. I think she's a fitness instructor or something—she's frequently home during the day, but not all day the way I am, and she often wears yoga pants and t-shirts. She's also very skinny, but more in the way of someone who does a lot of aerobics than in the way of someone who doesn't eat enough. ANYWAY. We see them to say "Hi" to on the street, and they're really decent about my parking my bike on their side of the house, in the lane between the houses.
But we share a wall. And when you share a wall with people, you get to know things about them that you mightn't know if your houses had more air between them. So we know that he has serious anger-management issues.
Used to be that all I knew of this was his singularly ineffective approach to dog training. Around 9:30 or 10:00 each night, the infamous Charlie (the more neurotic of the two small fluffy dogs) would begin to bark. And bark and bark and bark. Then he would shout "SHUT THE FUCK UP CHARLIE!
" Strangely, this did not actually cause Charlie to stop barking. (My guess is that poor Charlie barks because 1) she's just a barky dog, 2) they shut her away from her pack at night and haven't put the time into training her to sleep on her own, and 3) she wants the attention and reassurance that her monkeys are there. She may also be scared or trying to alert them that cars! are driving by! and there are shadows! and noises! I really don't think it's her fault that she's a dog.)
Later, when I started leaving for work later in the mornings, I would hear Anger-Management Neighbour go off on a tear at around 9:30 many mornings. As I was pulling my crap together to leave, I'd hear this explosive "FUUUCCKK
!" Not like "Oh fuck, I dropped my contact down the sink and now I have to wear glasses." More like "Fuck your goddamn dog just crapped in my $1200 loafers and I didn't notice until my foot, clad in my $200 socks, was well into the loafer." Like there's no capslock on any keyboard in the world wrathful enough to fully express this level of violent anger. The shouting would go on for several minutes, sometimes accompanied by doors slamming, then he would slam out of the house. If I saw him on the sidewalk, he'd politely wish me a good morning, as if he hadn't just been wrathfully swearing and slamming doors not two minutes before. The first time, I thought maybe one of the dogs had
crapped in his shoes or something. But it seems unlikely that the dogs could do this several times a week for two years. I mean how many shoes can a person buy before they get into the habit of, I don't know, putting their shoes on a high shelf or in a closet or something?
Granted, now that I work from home most days I have more opportunities to hear his outbursts. But it also seems to me that they are becoming more frequent. He never seems to become physically violent. His dogs do not behave like abused dogs do. When he's out walking them they run around his feet and wag their tails and seem generally stupid but behaviourally normal for stupid dogs—they don't cower, or start, or snap, and they don't seem to have injuries. They're a bit nervous, but I would be too if I lived with someone who shouted at me for inexplicable reasons.
I don't think there's anything we can do about Anger-Management Neighbour. It's not illegal to shout at your dogs, or to slam doors, or to randomly shout expletives before 11:00 p.m. But I'm worried about him, and about his girlfriend (honestly, I could not
live with that much wrath threatening to explode all over the place.), and about their stupid yappy dogs. And, frankly, I don't enjoy hearing his wrathful outbursts. They're loud, and scary sounding, and generally do not improve the tenor of the day.
So what does one do? Start putting pamphlets for anger-management counselling in the mailbox? Shout "SHUT THE FUCK UP YOURSELF!" through the walls at night? Play opera (like maybe the mad scene from Lucia
) really loudly so one can't hear the shouting? Discuss the problem with the landlord (seems like tattling)? Discuss the problem with the girlfriend (seems like a really overbearing thing to do). Move (dear gods, no!)?