When a Courtesy Note Isn't Much of a Courtesy

For some, this letter reads more like a declaration of war than a courtesy. Handout

A handwritten note went up in a downtown Toronto condo recently. For many of us, it wouldn’t draw much attention: Someone on the 16th floor is having a party, Sorry for the coming racket and thanks for your understanding.

It was the kind of note that turns up often in condo towers, as people cluster in ever-denser housing units and share the same thin walls. But something about this note didn’t so much ring of courtesy as fair warning.

Maybe it was the part about loud music until FOUR IN THE MORNING. Or the faint-hearted pledge to "not go too crazy." Or that jeering happy face at the end.

Or maybe it was the fact that this mini-apocalypse was imminent, there was no stopping it — and the only thing neighbors could do about it would be batten down the hatches or abandon their homes completely.

Because Hurricane HELL YEAH is coming through.

When the note was posted in a neighborhood Facebook group, it riled more than a few residents. How exactly is it a courtesy to inform your neighbors their night is about to be ruined?

Some commenters said the party host should at least buy neighbors a bottle of wine for their trouble. Others suggested the note was a glaring example of entitlement — as in, "I have a right to party no matter what the price my neighbors pay."

And still others applauded the party host’s manners.

“It's a Friday night and they're being courteous," one commenter noted. "I don't see anything wrong with this. Why can't we be a little tolerant?"

It’s true that tolerance is a mighty virtue in today’s dense and diverse cities. But should it be extended to letting neighbors party all over us?

Or, as one commenter bluntly put it: "Just because you tell somebody beforehand that you are going to punch him in the face, doesn't make it right."

What happens behind closed doors

There’s a fine print to notes like this — it’s written in the daily lives of people who live behind those neighboring doors.

When reached by MNN, the woman who shared the note — who didn't want to be identified in the story — said she posted it on behalf of a family that lives near the party unit.

"Each unit behind is a different world, you will never see how happy they are or how much they struggle," she explains. "It’s all about boundaries and consideration."

There are young children living on the same floor. And her friend's husband has a professional gig that has him rising early the next morning. He’s considering renting a hotel room that night.

And the party itself is no picnic, she adds. It rumbles into the building every few months, features hall-wandering guests, thumping bass and dense clouds of smoke.

So here's a little tip for the inconsiderate apartment-dwellers who drafted the note that caused the uproar. If you want to write a true courtesy note, do it with the renowned politeness of a Canadian. Like this:

A mitten taped to a pole with a note
This may be the ultimate monument to Canadian politeness. ohammy/Reddit