Communal living has its sacrifices. One of which is the various habits and values of one’s neighbors. Many of these vary widely and simply have to be adapted to. Some, however, should be common courtesies and observances. Trash, for example.

Two days ago, I noticed a few bags and a broken chair in the stairway of my new place. This happens from time to time at every place regardless but its discourteous regardless of any circumstances, but particularly so when our garbage collection is barely 150 feet from the door. However, I decided to hope that it was part of a move or series of trips to the trash that would be resolved shortly.

Finding the trash still there the next day, I had to fight my O/C instinct to haul it out myself. That would only reinforce the lazy and discourteous behavior. Instead, I resorted to that most cowardly and sinister of arts… writing. I left a note on the exit door, positioned so that it and the trash could be seen simultaneous by anyone passing by. It simply read…

Dear Neighbor,

Please appreciate that this area is used by all tenants and although it might be convenient to deposit your trash here, it is neither considerate or appropriate. If your personal trash is unsuitable to remain in your own dwelling, I assure you, that none of your neighbors wish to partake in it either. With that in mind, may I recommend the capacious and accessible garbage collection area which may be used by tenants at any hour or day.

Signed,

A Fellow Neighbor

Of course, the note was turn down that afternoon and the trash remained.

This morning, however, I saw another note in its place. It started with “Since the first note was torn down, I thought I add my own letter expressing that I too am very offended by the use of this area as a trash dump. Please show some maturity and consideration and remove your waste immediately.” Additional resident had added their own comments of support and agreement, including one from a retiree that suggested in not so veiled terms that since she was home all day, it would be easy for her to notice persons leaving trash in this area and put “a face on the problem”.

Yay, neighbors!