Hold Your Nose And Your Tongue

October 22, 2012

By Andrea Freedman

While chatting with a neighbour in the elevator of my apartment building, I was informed of an incident where one of the other residents filed a formal complaint against their next door neighbour for smoking marijuana, claiming that the smell infiltrated her unit.
I have a problem with people who complain about such things and I would be strongly opposed to any enforcement of rules against it by our building staff. I have never been a cigarette smoker and I have smelled cigarette smoke in the hallways; regardless, I would never in a million years complain about it or try to make a neighbour’s life more difficult. When I heard of the incident, although I myself was not on the receiving end of the complaint, it angered me nonetheless.
Having lived in an apartment for many years, I can tell you that there are far worse odours to contend with besides the smell of marijuana. I have often been assaulted by strong cooking smells, not to mention the occasional garbage smell, pet odour and in one extreme case, a neighbour who did not change their cat’s litter.
There is one floor in the building where when the elevator stops there, one cannot help but immediately notice the odour of moth balls. Speaking of the elevator, it can be very unpleasant to be in such an enclosed space with someone who, especially first thing in the morning, has not showered or brushed their teeth. On the other hand, sharing the elevator with a neighbour who has dowsed themselves in cologne is no picnic either; nor is it pleasant to be in a confined space with someone who has alcohol left over from the night before exuding from their pours.
It depends on what one finds offensive as far as smells go. What one person considers a foul scent may smell like a fragrant perfume to someone else. While one tenant may argue that his or her rights are being violated by having to put up with the smell of cannabis, the perpetrator could protest the infringement to their privacy and freedom.
Perhaps there are a few fusspots who actually believe they smell odours from other people’s apartments seeping into the vents in their units, and in some rare cases marijuana or another smell may creep into the next apartment, but it is so minimal that it hardly seems worth the potential grief that complaining about it could bring. Not to mention, in a large building, I think it would be highly unlikely that not one person in the entire dwelling smoked marijuana.
Living in harmony with one’s neighbours is really more important than the smells our prissy noses have to contend with. I would suggest that a little weed is by far not the worst smell that must be endured by apartment dwellers. People need to relax and take their noses, literally, out of their neighbours’ business.
These days there seem to be more and more rules. One’s home should not be a place where we are subjected to strict regulations. Surely there are enough guidelines and laws to be followed, without having to worry about nonsensical complaints or harassment from others living among us.
People should be free to do whatever they want in their own homes, and that includes those of us renting apartments. There are certain noises, eyesores and smells that people living in common or multi-unit dwellings sometimes have to adjust to or learn to ignore. While not everyone can afford to buy a detached house, there are houses available to rent, providing a scent-free haven. And if that doesn’t work, and one is bothered by smells of marijuana or anything else that wafts through the outside air, I suggest going inside and firmly closing all the windows. If all else fails, do yourself and your neighbours a favour and try some nose-plugs.♠

Copyright © 2012 Andrea Freedman

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About andfreed

I am a Toronto based writer of articles, columns, essays and novels.

Posted on November 2, 2012, in Weekly Thoughts and Observations and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Don’t judge people until you’ve walked in their shoes. Marijuana smoke is 10 times more offensive and imposing than cigarette smoke. I left one apartment after suffering daily nosebleeds and heart palpitations on a daily basis due to a group of 20-somethings neighbors who used recreationally. It would also make me dizzy to the point that I almost fainted on several occasions while engaging in activities like coming dinner. Stoners also tend to be entitled assholes, in my experience, so speaking to them politely does nothing.

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