There is a BIG beautiful church next to our apartment building. Huge. Unfortunately, the congregation seems to have crossed over into the realm of "bigger than you bully"-ness, that well, you know, it happens... Instead of nice neighbors, they are selfish to the extreme. Wish it were more of the typical pretty bells, hymns, nice people milling about, etc. I don't have to be a part of it to appreciate the beauty of someone else's house of prayer. Most churches, and mosques, are nice neighbors. Yes, that means I also enjoy the omnipresent call to prayers here. Spirituality, Religion - it adds good atmosphere to a community :-)
Now, we know it is very crowded here. We also know that parking can be very difficult. We know that acceptable noise levels late at night are set at an extremely different level here than in the US. But this church goes beyond the norm. I think the Sports Club, that is actually closer to us in the back - that hosts sporting events and concerts(!), is actually a more polite neighbor than this church.
I also realize that this is Coptic Easter. A time for celebration. Understood. But that only excuses so much. Driving the kids to school yesterday, I had to thread through cars parked on both sides of the road that we barely fit through. Got to an intersection, and some woman was stopped with her flashers on. Parked. In the middle of the road. I honked. Mind you, this is early in the morning in a residential community, but what could I do? One (tight) lane, no place else to go. She shrugs. I honked again. She inches forward, but you can tell, she doesn't want to actually go anywhere. Two other cars approach the intersection from 2 other directions. THEY are also blocked. We all BLAST our horns - eventually, dimwit turns down the empty quarter, drives - ohmigoodness! - all of 30-40 feet, and finds an easy, empty spot to park. How inconvenient?! The rest of us made our ways through. I continued threading the guantlet, although we did have to bump mirrors with another SUV in order to get through (happens often enough).
All day, parking on all the surrounding roads was much more stupid than usual - people are too lazy to drive a little further, but that is typical, at least most got their cars, mostly, out of the road. And it is a special day. Ok. Extra grace extended. But in addition to cars sticking out in the road all over the place, these people think it is ok to stand around IN the blocked roads and talk with their friends. So, as driving over people is generally frowned upon, and there is NO other way around, LOTS more honking. Not us this time.. we walked on our outing this evening. What makes it particularly selfish is, that unlike most other places in town, there are actually plenty of very good OFF-the-road places to stand and talk near this church! But they are always in the road instead. Because that's what they want to do, and nobody else matters.
Then there's the noise. On a regular basis, they are noisy neighbors. Celebrations, parties, whatever - I don't go, I don't know what they're doing... Add in frequent weddings with LOUD music and dozens of cars honking repeatedly in celebration (for 30 minutes or so after the wedding). They are noisy. Thank goodness our apartment is as far away, on our block, as possible from this church.. but they are still loud. Late into the night.
Last night there was a LOUD concert. We didn't go out and check exactly where it was coming from, but there were no extra lights at the sports club, the noise was coming from the direction of the church, and when we passed by earlier, they were definitely in-progress of setting something up. Everything else is housing. Even if it wasn't them, they are rude enough so often that I feel no guilt for pointing at them with only an assumption to back me up. Even being completely around the block from them, our windows rattled. We could feel the music through the floor. And we don't get much noise through the apartments - this building is solid concrete and brick. We barely hear our closest neighbors. This noise went on to 10-11pm at night in a residential area.
Then... following a day of dropping temps, high winds, and high humidty... there was this incredibly BRILLIANT flash of pure white light. A couple seconds later... rumble GROWL rolllll GRUMBLE boooom THUNDER. Just once. And then, no more music. Blessed quiet. Hmm? I have no idea what happened. As I said, maybe it wasn't even that obnoxious church where, apparently, they think they are big enough to have earned a waiver from the Golden Rule. (Hopefully no one got struck!) Maybe it was just time to end the show anyway. I would not be too terribly surprised to hear that they'd set off some incredibly inappropriate explosive device. (Pretty sure it was thunder though.) No matter - I really appreciated the 'semblance' of divine intervention. Thank you!