I live next door to an extremely noisy girl who has a boyfriend who, whilst not actually living here, spends almost all of his time with her. The walls are very thin and the sound echoes around in the courtyard outside our windows, and also along the corridor so that any noise she makes in her room is funnelled straight into mine.

She is the noisiest person I have ever encountered. For months I was tearing my hair out over the sound of her door SLAM SLAM SLAMMING over and over again every day – it was so frequent that I started to wonder if she was just opening it and letting it fall shut for fun, or to antagonise me, and so loud that I was reminded of a gun shot. Eventually, at the end of my tether, I complained to the building’s maintenance team who came to take a look at the closing mechanism and did something to make the slamming quieter. It still happens, but it no longer sounds like a gun shot.

Sadly fixing the door didn’t stop the shrieking, the excessively loud talking, the ear-piercing laughter. Although I spend a lot of time in my room working and reading and listening to the radio, I could just about tolerate the noise during the day. But I would be kept awake until 1 or 2am and sometimes woken at 3 or 4, and it was driving me mad. Several times I went round to knock on her door and ask her to be quiet. The effect never lasted more than an hour or two.

For the last month I’ve been free of her noise, because first she and then I went away for easter. This evening heralded her return: a parade of noise down the corridor, the bangning of a door, an almost-comprehendible conversation, loud laughter, and then the sound of two people going out again.

It wasn’t really that noisy, all told – noiser than any of other five people living here, but just on the edge of acceptable for an early evening. But after so many months of being disturbed and antangonised by the situation, I’m wired for an immediate response. I just have to hear her footsteps to immediately be flooded with rage. Seeing her in the distance provokes a flicker of dislike. Any mention of her name and I have to bite my tongue not to say something rude.

I’ve fallen into an unpleasant pattern of hatred. Other than our exchanges over her noise, which have never lasted more than half a minute and always have remained civilised and polite, albeit ineffectual, we have never spoken. She has a lot of friends and I’m sure she is a pleasant, fun person. But all I know about her is how inconsiderate she is, and how unable she is to realise that her actions affect the other people around her.

I don’t like this hair-trigger response. I don’t like hating people. I don’t like being filled with anger, and I don’t like judging a person based on a tiny detail. Whenever I realise I have fallen into the trap of hatred, I immediately send up a prayer. Dear Lord, please help me to love this girl and to tolerate her noise without allowing myself to be angry. Remind me that I am just as capable of rudeness. Show me a new way to handle the problem.

I wish the prayer would come first, though. I find it very hard to love my enemy, and even harder to remember that this girl is not really my enemy at all.

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