I love living in the city. Unfortunately, so does everyone else.

With so many people desperate to live in the downtown, and only so much square footage to go around, the default option for most 20-something renters — who are at the midpoint between a grimy student house and a starter home they can’t afford — is an apartment.

While units will vary in size and quality, most highrise residences are essentially the same: Shrunken appliances; paper-thin walls; and hundreds of inhabitants that will inevitably irritate one another to the point of relocation.


Living in such close proximity to one another makes it very easy to find cause for complaint. Loud animals, crying children, smokers, bed bug carriers, couples who have screaming matches into the wee hours of the night or, even worse, couples who enjoy loud bedroom gymnastics in the early hours of the morning.

In a building full of strange strangers, neighbourly love is almost non-existent. No one makes eye contact in the elevator and no one has ever knocked on my door for a cup of sugar. And do you know what? I have plenty of sugar, people. The only thing my neighbours take from me is wi-fi access and my Saturday morning newspaper.

Yes, that’s right, every weekend a man down the hall steals my newspaper. I have no way to prove it’s him but I know it to be true. He is the Newman to my Jerry.

In addition to the newspaper bandit there’s a high-heeled party girl upstairs who runs laps around her living room, a drill-wielding handyman across the hall, and a tone deaf boy-next-door who plays bass guitar until 2 a.m.

Every address has a similar cast of charming characters who make communal living interesting — and not in a good way.

Of course, not all neighbours are rude. Maybe yours are great and you have dinner parties and play charades and lend each other baking supplies all of the time. But more often than not, the neighbours you remember are the inconsiderate individuals who steal your parking spot and toss cigarette butts on your balcony.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter whether you love or loathe thy neighbour, because there’s not a whole lot you can do about it. You don’t have to share a love of late-night movie marathons but you do have to share a postal code. So in the name of harmonious living, turn the volume down.

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