Free-Floating Hostility

Saturday, October 15, 2005

In Which I Exhibit Culturally Inappropriate Behavior

We have a neighbor--and in my defense, let me explain that I don't know which neighbor it is--who gets very excited about football games. I don't mean excited in the sense of enthusiastic and eager. I mean that when his team is losing, he shouts, curses, screams, and then phones his friends so he can shout, curse and scream at them. Sometimes it's funny, like when Mike is watching the same game as him on mute, and we get a soundtrack anyway. But tonight I was trying to study for my Biostatistics midterm, and I found his antics unamusing. So somewhere around what I imagine may have been the second quarter, I snapped, and did a very New York thing. I stepped outside our apartment and spoke distinctly into the courtyard: "You know, some day you're going to be getting murdered in your apartment, and we're not going to know about it cause it sounds exactly like you watching a game." Then I went inside, and it's been quiet all evening.

Okay, so that was not a very Peace by Peace way of handling the situation. But it honestly seemed to me like saying, "Excuse me, would you mind keeping it down?" would have been way ruder. I don't know about my neighbor, but nothing makes me feel like escalating a conflict more than condescension. My way uses humor to make a cogent argument, and doesn't imply that I'm excluding him from social norms. If I were in his shoes I would truly prefer the indirect method of--um--diplomacy. But then again, I'm from New York.

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