My first home, on a quiet street in a friendly little neighborhood, was just seven minutes from my new job. It was nice and quiet until summer rolled around. My neighbor was in the next house over, ten feet to the west. Tony was a bachelor with two dogs, a pair of aged labs. I came to think of them as the good old boys. In the summer, Tony liked to leave his side door open in the evening to let the cool air in. He watched TV in his living room, and the good old boys ran in and out of the house.
The trouble was that my high bedroom window looked straight over the fence into Tony's open side door. My unobstructed view through his laundry room was of Tony, laying back on his couch in front of the TV, nose pointing toward the ceiling and sound asleep.
As I lay in my bed trying to get some sleep one warm summer night, the silence was broken by the good old boys running out the side door barking with great gusto at some unseen attacker. They repeated the performance the next night too. I called Tony, who was so deep in slumber that he could not hear his phone ringing next to him, though I could hear it plainly through my closed window. In the morning, I tried speaking to him about it, but he became combative, insisting that the boys were old and needed to be able to go outside.
The following night, at about 3:30 am, the dogs woke me again with their usual charge out the side door. That's when I got an idea.
I went outside and rang Tony's front doorbell. After counting to five, I ran through Tony's side gate to shut his side door, just as the good old boys were arriving to attack the stranger at the front door. Very pleased with my success, I trotted back to my house and looked out my bedroom window. As expected, I could see through the window of Tony's now closed side door that he had slept through the whole thing. I went back to sleep too.
The next night I ran through the same routine and it worked again, but I realized that my brilliant idea was not a good long-term strategy. So I called the police in the morning who told me there was indeed an animal ordinance requiring quiet after ten pm.
I gently shared this information with Tony, and, like a good neighbor, he kept his side door shut from then on. The good old boys and I quit bursting outside in the middle of the night, and we all resumed the enjoyment of a good night's sleep.