Blessed with three boys in close succession, you can imagine that our home is not a quiet place. Baruch Hashem, my wife and I enjoy the background cacophony. Our neighbors, on the other hand, do not. Doesn’t matter where—we’ve lived in Eretz Yisrael, Manchester, and Los Angeles—when the people living underneath see you enter an apartment for the first time loaded down with LEGO sets and firetrucks, trailed by little legs in sneakers, their hackles just go up; it’s almost an involuntary reflex.
In an effort to keep the peace, my wife and I do our best to remind the boys to keep the noise level down. We try to be on top of it, but our shushing only goes so far.
One incident that really sticks out occurred one memorable Friday night, when everyone was already fast asleep. The quiet was suddenly broken by loud bangs on the front door. I was shaken, sure that something terrible must’ve happened. I ran to open the door and saw my neighbor standing there in his pajamas, anger etched in every feature of his face. He started yelling at me to keep the noise down. I was perplexed; everyone was sleeping. Turned out a water pipe in one of the walls was making a racket right over the man’s head.