Questionable Advice: October

My new neighbors have called the police for noise complaints repeatedly. I don’t want to bother them, but I’m very hard of hearing, and so sometimes I don’t realize if I’m making much of a racket. I just wish they’d tell me before jumping straight to the police. When I went to talk with them about it, they slammed the door in my face!

—Adelie

I think there are a couple of good ways to handle this, but I’ll only give you the third and less combative one. I’d go to the police, ask for a sit-down, and explain that your hearing is wanting, that you are not aware you’re making so much noise (and I’ll bet the rent you are not), and so when Mr. and Mrs. Lovetostiruptroublewherethereisnone calls them, the boys and girls in blue, to complain, they could perhaps shoot you an email saying, “They’re at it again, so lower the TV and take the rap music back a couple of decibels. We will understand and won’t come out there but will call your new and loser neighbors and tell them their complaint quota is up. Thanks for letting us know.”

Next time this happens, Adelie, you could turn up everything to its highest shriek and go shopping, but that wouldn’t be neighborly, would it?

I love to cook for my husband, but my in-laws have started bugging me about my cooking. They keep recommending I make meals that are healthier. I love them, but they’re really starting to get on my nerves. Do you have a way to politely get them to back off?

—Mia

They live with you? Yes? No? Even if they do, they do not get to complain about your cooking, most especially if they’re eating it. And BTW, the human race has muddled along quite well for Ks of years on “unhealthy” cuisine, and yep, we’re still here. Our dearly departed ancestors squatting in caves or on the insides of big logs lived on fatted Yak and never kale. And another BTW, Mia, there is NO polite way to tell know-it-all people who get their jollies by correcting others, to back off, so do your Buddha smile and tell them sweetly to please can it. Or better yet, tell them to 1. Go away or 2. Go to a local health food joint and sit down to a lovely dinner of bean sprouts, organic tofu, and organic mineral water, or to 3. Go away.


I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, so winter and fall can be pretty hard on me. As the seasons change, what are some ways to keep a healthy mindset through these colder months?

—Dani

A couple of suggestions. First, chocolate martinis. Second, naughty movies on the tube. Third, aren’t there lights and boxes and lamps and gizmos out there one can turn on to help with SAD? Check out the Google Godsthey’ll know. Failing that, check with a physician. This is fixable, Dani—you can do this. There is no need to suffer with this Seasonal Affective Disorder. Suffering is just so yesterday.

My coworker loves to share funny videos—animals and the like. I enjoy them, but I prefer to watch them after working, not while we’re on-duty. When I mentioned that to her, she looked crushed. I think I might have come across harsher than I meant to! How can I fix this?

—Georgia

Georgia, you never heard the phrase “passing the buck”? In your case it means that you get someone in charge to announce by words or by notices tacked the company bulletin board, that it is company policy that videos, etc., are never to be watched during work hours. Let him/her take the heat, and you just sit there looking innocent and confused even though you were the snitch. Furthermore, people who want to share “funny” videos? Guess what? THEY ARE NEVER EVER FUNNY.

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