Video Extras

Lockdown Made It Hard To Love Thy Neighbour

‘Everybody needs good neighbours’ or thicker walls to block the noise.

‘Everybody needs good neighbours’ or thicker walls to block the noise.Maintaining a good relationship with your neighbours can be hard even at the best of times. Currently, this writer’s neighbour has a fig tree that is slowly growing into and destroying our shared fence. I’ve known about this problem for three years now, but I am terrified of confrontation so have not yet mustered the courage to bring it up.

So, you can imagine how hard it’s been for Victorians and their relationships with their neighbours during lockdown given all the amount of extra time that they’ve spent in close proximity to each other.

Which is probably why the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria has recorded more than 21,000 disputes in the past financial year, with two thirds being neighbourhood issues, according to the Herald Sun.

So who were the main culprits?

Well, the big one was those disgusting fitness enthusiasts who refused to let their bodies fall apart like the rest of us during lockdown and who insisted on working out at home, blasting music and dropping dumbbells all over the place. Honestly, guys, who are you trying to maintain your body for? You can’t go outside. Just put on seven kilos like the rest of us you absolute psychopaths.

How's the serenity? Image: Getty.

The other culprits included people conducting work meetings over Zoom presumably yelling at their colleagues who were on mute, which would ironically lead to a noise complaint from a neighbour.

One ridiculous complaint was by a neighbour who was frustrated that the music teacher next door continued teaching online. Guys, give this poor teacher a break. Do you know how hard it is teaching a bunch of 12 year olds how to play Hot Cross Buns on the recorder in person? Imagine trying to do that over Zoom and not being allowed to mute all the kids because your job depends on teaching them how to hit that C-minor semibreve.

Perhaps the most egregious complaints were by neighbours annoyed that delivery trucks were blocking shared driveways. I refuse to hear anything that disparages these essential workers who delivered new sofas and TVs to pass the time during lockdown. They must be praised rather than punished.

One thing lockdown did reveal is just how fragile these neighbourly bonds in Australia are. Over in Italy we saw people singing together on the balconies. In Australia, we were calling the cops on music teachers singing over Zoom.

Or maybe we just need thicker walls in our apartments. It’s hard to say.