Mean Ol' Philo Philo's Saws
Baby Bob
October 23,2003
Steve,
I need to bring to your attention something that occurred last Saturday morning. I had previously  spoken with you about the noise from your power saws. I expressed to you that due to the nature of my work, as well as my overall lifestyle, my privacy was very important to me and that the noise was too disruptive. You seemed aware that the saws could be awfully loud and that they could be hard to listen to. I told you at that time that if I could get some advance notice, I would be willing to work with you to arrange a time in our schedules when I could be away and you could feel free to do your work. I gave you a copy of my work schedule. I felt we had an understanding. Last Saturday, for some reason, all that we had discussed was simply disregarded. You went ahead with your sawing as if we had never held a discussion about it. I felt disrespected and naturally my trust has taken a blow. The worst part of it is that if you had approached me beforehand, as we had discussed, I would have told that I was leaving for Lake Tahoe the very next day and would be  away Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

This issue would not have resurfaced. Since it has come up again, I'm writing to you so that there won't be any confusion about my position. , In the future, I would appreciate reasonable notice that you are planning to use the saws and I will work with you to find a time that works to both of our benefits. My phone number is 999-9999 and you are welcome to call to set things up. (Though they can speak for themselves, you might also consider the other neighbors. I know that Sara works at night and was most likely trying to sleep while you were sawing. Jeff works at a very difficult job and prizes his privacy as much as I do. I feel certain that he didn't come out on his deck last Saturday just to say "Hello.")

The other thing that happened last Saturday was that you turned your stereo up loud enough so that you could hear your music while you worked outside. If you turn it up that loud, you can be sure that I am hearing it too. I love music and would never interfere with someone's right to play it, but I don't think it's unreasonable to want to listen to my own music and not someone else's. Music doesn't sound nearly so good when it's being recycled through a floor. I play my stereo on the average four hours a day, every day. I keep the volume low out of respect for my neighbors, but still am able to derive great satisfaction from the music. Sometimes, when you have friends or your daughter over, everyone has to talk so loud over the stereo or TV that I could recite entire conversations verbatim. I wouldn't think that you would want your private conversations overheard in this way. I know that I have no interest in hearing them. Again, I'm willing to work with you on determining and adjusting the level of sound. We could experiment with different volume levels. Another idea might be to put some insulation board or soundproofmg up on the ceiling above the stereo equipment. I soundproofed one of my bedrooms for a roommate because he needed more privacy to study. It worked out great and was not expensive. I can show you the soundproofing I have and how I attached it. (In all fairness, other than last Saturday, I have noticed a drop in the Stereo/TV volume and have appreciated it greatly).

Maybe you have been used to living in a house with lots of space around you to play music and a shed to deaden the noise of your saws. I don't know, but here, we have six units and 11 people in about the same space as a large, residential lot. I believe it is important that we communicate with each other and respect each other's privacy. I also feel that we all need to take responsibility for our actions when they affect those around us-even if that means giving up a small degree of personal freedom.

My experience is that intrusive unilateral behavior always leads to negative relationships. That leads to tension and conflict. Soon, home is not "Home" anymore. I realize these are my values and you may not agree with them, but I wanted you to know where I'm coming from. I am open to any discussion regarding the contents of this letter and/or reasonable, shared, solutions. I am willing to work with you in all the ways I've stated. I also want to make it absolutely clear that I am firm in the preservation of my privacy. It will not waver from day to day, hour to hour; and neither will my respect for the privacy of the others around me. Both are constants and both are core values that I have worked a lifetime to develop.
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