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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Wild Parties over My Head, Literally

Our upstairs neighbors have a very excitable 15 year-old boy with a lot of friends.  And his parents leave him at home alone all weekend every once in a while.  That's when the blaring, all-night parties happen.  Last night is a good example.  They were playing all the most popular tunes (e.g., Happy) so loud it echoed throughout the entire block.  They had their windows open, and they were dancing and screaming at the top of their lungs.  This started around 8:30.  At various points, I considered going upstairs and yelling at them, since the sound comes through their floor and into our living room at that volume.  I had to turn up the sound on my own TV so it wouldn't be drowned out.

A few times during the evening, at 10:00, 11:00, and 12:00, I opened up our balcony doors and listened to the sounds of the people coming out of the open windows directly over my head.  That's when I noticed the people in the building across the street opening up their windows, looking over at the apartment above me.  It was so loud, it was annoying the people across the street with their windows closed!  Some of them were shaking their heads.  One couple even looked at me and shrugged their shoulders and smiled.  The loud partying continued until 2AM.  I could still hear people talking and walking around up there at 8 in the morning.

All this brings up questions about French culture.  In the US, I expect at least one neighbor would call the cops, and they would come and tell the party animals to keep it down.  Disturbing the peace, and all that.  Why doesn't that happen here?  Is it because neighbors know the police won't care?  It is because they don't have a law about disturbing the peace?

Or, is it something deeper?  Could it be that there is a taboo among the French when it comes to snitching, to turning one's neighbor in to the authorities, even when you have to put up with a nuisance instead?   Maybe this is part of the explanation for the affluent young people smoking pot in public in daylight.  Do they feel secure that no one would report them?  Maybe it's inconceivable to them that someone would do something like that.

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