I used to live next door to nuns. Swear to God (oops! my bad), a convent of old-fashioned nuns with the long habits and dangling rosary beads who ran a little nursery school. They were very sweet and always brought us baked goods on holidays (the nuns, not the kids). At one point, some grinch-y types in the neighborhood banded together to file a complaint about the noise coming from the toddlers playing outside. To which my response was, "Really? Out of all the bad neighbors you could get, you think nuns are a problem?"
I feel similarly towards the unidentified neighbors of 4-year-old Alfie Lansdell, whose complaint about the boy making too much noise while playing in his garden could end up costing his family 5,000 pounds (the Lansdells live in England, by the way).
Seriously?! One 4-year-old kid? Playing in the garden? For crying out loud ... it can't be THAT loud!
City council sent out a letter to Alfie's parents, SImon and Pippa, to let them know a complaint was made and to warn them that further complaints could result in the aforementioned 5,000-pound fine. Oddly, none of the Lansdells' neighbors will admit to making the complaint -- they all claim to be "disgusted" that anyone should take issue with the sound of such a "lovely" boy as Alfie happily playing in the garden. With his dog. Awww, a boy and his dog!
It seems unlikely that these "noise nuisance" allegations will lead to any real consequences for the Lansdells, given the outrage of just about everybody who hears this story. But that's not stopping me from being seriously peeved at the cowardly neighbor who went whining to city council in the first place, and at people in general who seem to think that children aren't allowed to make noise anywhere, ever.
I have to confess, if I were Alfie's mom, I'd be tempted to sign the kid up for tuba lessons. Or perhaps I'd buy him a drum set. Maybe we'd take up yodeling as a family.
I'm not saying this is a mature approach or that it would do anything to solve the problem.
It would, however, be really, really funny.
Do you think a 4-year-old's family should be fined for the noise he makes playing outside?
Image via Berkeley T. Compton/Flickr