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DarkMonohue
DarkMonohue Reader
2/12/22 10:15 p.m.

The short version:

The house next door is occupied by a young (maybe 19 year old) kid.  No parents in the house.  The kid has a steady stream of friends over.  Apparently the fashion among this crowd is to remove the mufflers from whatever hand-me-down cars they drive, and the neighbor has followed suit, so we get to hear the unsilenced drone of auto-trans Corollas, Camrys, Outbacks, etc., coming and going well into the night, revving at every opportunity, along with his beater '91 Celica.  I've had it with the noise and have made it clear to him that this needs to end.  It's tapered off significantly but has not stopped.  Note there is no HOA or other organization to consider.

If anybody has any suggestions, either practical or comic in nature, I'd love to hear them. 

 

The long version:

The house in question has an inglorious past.  It was a HUD rental for years and, after a short period of ownership by a great young couple, was sold again last spring.  When the current owner was viewing the property prior to purchase, he spied my parts car in the backyard and commented to my wife that his son would love living here since he was really into MR2s.  Since he bought it, it has been occupied by the kid.  The dad apparently lives where he works, which is "on a farm" (i.e. very likely illicit agriculture) about an hour away.  The kid, although enthusiastic, is also dumb as a sack of hammers.  Last fall I heard the most awful mechanical gnashing noises and went outside to find the kid desperately attempting to stuff his wrecked 200SX into the garage before the anybody saw that he'd very obviously committed a hit-and-run.  Bloodied nose, both airbags popped, hood peeled back like a can of Fancy Feast, left front tire missing entirely, and he's breathing like he's just run a marathon and telling me he hit a tree and I can't tell anybody.  Uh-huh - stay here a minute, kiddo.  Cops came to chat, and it turns out his "tree" was a chain link fence in a parking lot and about half a storage unit on the other side of it that Junior wiped out while competing in the Dairy Queen 500.  So off he goes to sign some papers.  Next morning I caught his dad at the curb waiting to take the kid somewhere and we had a little visit.  Claims the boy had "a medical event".  Riiiiiiiiight.  Sure thing.  Here's my number.  Let's keep in touch.

So the kid's dead Nissan now sits next to the driveway, immobile and sinking into the earth.  Because he doesn't want to drive his MR2 every day, be bought a '90-ish Celica GT-S.  Meanwhile, the snow came, and Junior fired up his MR2 in anticipation of mid-engined thrills.  I cautioned him strongly against it.  He accepted my advice and took the Celica to Taco Bell.  Weeks later, as he's begging for help diagnosing his MR2, he concedes that he later took it out in the snow and slightly wrecked it.  Last month, he caught me at the mailbox and told me that somebody had run him off the road (uh-huh, of course, go on) and he'd sunk the MR2 up to the dash in water, and what should he do?  I resisted the urge to tell him to get a bus pass...

The above is merely stupidity.  It doesn't affect me directly or immediately.  But now he has friends coming and going all the time, and their theme seems to be unmuffled crapbox cars with lots of unnecessary revs.  One is particularly obnoxious, and we had a text message conversation about him not bringing that car into the neighborhood again.  A day or two after that conversation he brought home a pack of friends at about 11:30 PM and I popped outside for an impromptu discussion in which the boy sheepishly admitted that he had taken the muffler off his Celica "because I want to put another muffler on it..."  No way, you're smarter than that, I lied, this has to end.  FIX IT. 

Well, he ain't fixed it.  He ain't done a damn thing except hang around all day and night (no job, no school, near as I can tell) and generate nuisance traffic.  So, given the facts as I see them:

  1. The boy is demonstrably dumb
  2. His friends appear similarly dim of wit
  3. Daddy is almost certainly a dime-store hustler with little interest in issuing a fatherly mandate to be a good neighbor
  4. I've already called the cops on the kid once about the hit and run and gotten in his face about the noise issues

What do we do next?  What would you do?  And who has good prices on expanding foam insulation these days?

Steve_Jones
Steve_Jones Dork
2/12/22 10:20 p.m.

Anyone that is doing that stuff at 11:30 PM is trying to sleep at Noon. Take a day off and work on something just as loud at 11 AM. 

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy MegaDork
2/12/22 10:27 p.m.

I hate to admit but my friends in the day were knuckleheads too.  They had big trucks with loud exhausts and they did a giant burnout when they dropped me off after drinking and partying at 1am.   Fricking hilarious - wake up my mom.  

My guess is time will help them move along in life?
 

OHSCrifle
OHSCrifle UltraDork
2/12/22 10:40 p.m.
Steve_Jones said:

Anyone that is doing that stuff at 11:30 PM is trying to sleep at Noon. Take a day off and work on something just as loud at 11 AM. 

I think you meant 8:30 (but only out of respect for the other neighbors)

ClemSparks
ClemSparks UltimaDork
2/12/22 10:42 p.m.

Unfortunately it's not illegal to be dumb.

You can't force someone to be a good neighbor.  Pulling pranks just begs for retaliation from dumbE36 M3s who have nothing to loose (I mean...except a flood-damaged, "slightly-wrecked" MR2 that has to be exhumed from your side yard).

Check with the authorities to see what the noise/nuisance ordinances are.  That might be your best recourse.

Keep bringing it up when you see him.  Be respectful, neighborly...but stern is ok.  It might be uncomfortable enough to him to influence behavior?  Eventually?  Maybe?  Sooner or later hopefully he'll figure out you're a person...or that he is.

 

Story time:  Years ago we had some neighbors and it was just completely obvious they were dealing drugs out of their house.  Not a good situation but it wasn't directly affecting me (I just provide this info to acknowledge I already didn't hold a high opinion of the residents of this house).  Then one day they come up with an old 50cc scooter and are joy-riding it around with no exhaust/muffler and it's absolutely ear-splitting.  I was about to lose my mind and ran out and flagged them down.  I was sure this was not going to end well but when the guy stopped (easily outweighed me by 75 lbs) I said, "You HAVE to quiet that thing down!  It's really loud.  We have people trying to sleep, etc."  To my total astonishment the guy said, "I can respect that."  We had a quick discussion and I ended up helping them install the muffler ("we have the muffler, we just don't have the bolts to put it on") which solved the whole thing.  Crazy, right?  A few weeks later one of them was arrested for reasons including (but likely not limited to) being in possession of a stolen vehicle (a dodge van...not the scooter).

edwardh80
edwardh80 Reader
2/12/22 11:57 p.m.

This suggestion might not be a very comfortable one, but perhaps you can be a positive influence to him? Invite him over for dinner perhaps? Find out what makes him tick and if he's interested in doing anything worthwhile with his life and perhaps you can encourage him to follow that path instead of being an eternal deadbeat. Seems he's lacking a positive father figure role model and could do with one. It takes a village to raise a child, after all, and he sounds very much like an immature child.

I admit I have no knowledge of your situation so take this with a big grain of salt.

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
2/13/22 12:33 a.m.

In reply to edwardh80 :

That's what I was thinking. Something along the lines of I can probably help you with the MR2, maybe other things, definitely give you advice, but you gotta do me a soild and ease up on the noise,  like none after 10:00.

Petty retaliation on someone with no brains and nothing to loose never ends well. Looking out your window 24/7 watching for trouble sucks.

daeman
daeman SuperDork
2/13/22 2:36 a.m.

Have you tried the 'pointing an old military issue rifle at them while growling get off my lawn' approach?

It's a tough spot to be in, we've all been young and im sure most of us did stuff in our younger days that was somewhat irritating to those around us.

He's got an interest in cars, try and use it to your advantage.  As has been suggested, offer some favor for some favor. Maybe you can help him learn that driving loud E36 M3boxes irresponsibly gets him unwanted attention. 

jh36
jh36 Dork
2/13/22 5:39 a.m.

In reply to edwardh80 :

I'm with you and Appleseed. 
In the "what's wrong with the world" category...I rank skilled parenting near the top. Each generation stands a chance of having a worse baseline example to live by. 
It doesn't sound like there is a mother. The father is not making his son any sort of priority. 
He likes cars.  It doesn't sound like he or his friends are particularly mean spirited. As much as your own energy and personality can go, maybe take the opportunity to mentor. 
I have been down that road at least once with a teenager from a broken home, and after he didn't shake off his dumb behavior  (and he is an incredibly bright human), I thought I had failed.  Only to find that he had retained the things we discussed, considered them from time to time and thought of me as a father...again, when I thought I had failed.  You don't always know your impact.

That said, I packed our bags nearly 30 years ago and moved to the country where my nearest neighbor is a couple of miles away.

 

ddavidv
ddavidv UltimaDork
2/13/22 7:05 a.m.

How many of us were that Dumb Neighbor Kid with our own cars?  I'm sure my neighbors were thrilled with my POS trucks parked on the street and riding my tube frame dune buggy in the vacant lot behind their house. 

Hard to tolerate, I know. But...it's just their time to do stupid crap and then (hopefully) learn from it.

Photo of my $250 F100 that lowered property values for about a year:  

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
2/13/22 8:37 a.m.

In reply to DarkMonohue :

Early in the story I wonder if the kid knew you called the cops on him about the hit and run?  If he knows it was you, is some of this behavior retaliation?   I guess the answer there is to limit the obviousness of the police involvement.  

As others have mentioned, this kid needs guidance that you might have to provide.  This guidance might be what the father had in mind when he chose you as a neighbor.  

Captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
Captdownshift (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
2/13/22 9:03 a.m.

Invite them out to autocross sometime. Seriously. They'll see how adults enjoy vehicles and challenge their own ability. Then they'll see what classes stupid modifications put you into and they'll be less likely to stray into the realm of doing stupid modifications. The biggest chuckle heads in the automotive world are ones that don't do motorsport. Motorsport gives us an outlet and focus that keeps us from doing moronic things, left to our own devices without the challenge and rules of motorsports the majority of us would be those idiots. 

914Driver
914Driver MegaDork
2/13/22 9:36 a.m.

I bought My house the kid next-door was 14, older non involved parents.  At 16 they bought him a 1967 Camaro that he decorated with fur ceiling cheap stereo and no mufflers.  Killed it trying to jump over railroad tracks; so they bought him a '69 nova ss.  At 18 he joined the Navy, five months later he was home with a general discharge.  We don't know what's wrong with you and don't want to try to fix it.

Now in his 40s he has nine kids in two counties and never did get married, living off the government tit.


You can't fix this, all you can do is hope an Army recruiter gets his ear.  Take notes and be patient.

DarkMonohue
DarkMonohue Reader
2/13/22 9:41 a.m.
John Welsh said:

In reply to DarkMonohue :

Early in the story I wonder if the kid knew you called the cops on him about the hit and run?  If he knows it was you, is some of this behavior retaliation?   I guess the answer there is to limit the obviousness of the police involvement.  

As others have mentioned, this kid needs guidance that you might have to provide.  This guidance might be what the father had in mind when he chose you as a neighbor.  

Lots of good feedback here from all of you, but I'm quoting John for now because I'm phone-bound for a bit today and can't neatly stitch multiple replies together.

Yes, he knows I am the one who called on him after his crash. I was actually on the phone with dispatch describing his injuries and behavior while he was running around trying to make room in the garage for the wrecked car and asking me, between gulps of air, who I was talking to.  When I caught his dad the next morning, the kid jumped into the car and I told them I was sorry I had to call, but it looked like he was hurt and he wasn't making any sense, and I didn't know if he needed an ambulance or if maybe he'd left a pedestrian dead and panicked or what.  They seemed receptive to that, and his dad assured me (well, tried to) that they understand, it was the right thing to do, we're all in this together, etc.. 

It seems unlikely that there's any sort of retaliation going on. Since then, he's come to me several times for advice and help.  When I confronted him about the noise, he didn't push back at all, which suggests that he may actually respect me enough to give a damn that I'm pissed off by his behavior.  So there's some indication that a mentoring approach may work.  We've laid the groundwork for that already.  I  don't really have the time to tuck him under my wing, so to speak, but I can offer him some time here and there and see what his plans are, maybe plant a few seeds.

Autocross is an interesting idea. I haven't done it in almost 20 years, barring a few rare MR2 meets, and I lost what little interest I had long ago.  But maybe it will appeal to him.

914Driver jumped in as I was typing this.  Buddy, I can't make sense of half of your post, but I think I got the message.  I will definitely make a point of the many fine benefits our military has to offer.  And will also advise him to keep his personal anatomy under control if that can be done in a genteel manner befitting our relationship as neighbors. 

 

Bibs
Bibs New Reader
2/13/22 9:48 a.m.

Tough situation...we have a similarly dumb kid beside us, who set up a tarp camp in the backyard, so he and his friends can get high and freestyle rap until 2AM. 
Mom is useless, a hoarder who has never held the kids accountable for their BS. 
 

I don't want to engage these morons, because they have nothing to lose.  
 

the kids all drive, so I did tip off my cop friend that these idiots could be driving high. It's a small town, so he knew who they were..

93gsxturbo
93gsxturbo UltraDork
2/13/22 10:30 a.m.

15 years ago - I was 24 yrs old and living in a house I got cheap in a nice neighborhood.  A real nice neighborhood.  Vehicles consisted of:

-Cammed and supercharged C5 Corvette with longtubes, no cats, and sometimes an SLP Exhaust (essentially just longer straight pipes, "those mufflers don't muffle E36 M3, son")

-A really rusty, lifted, straight off the farm, straightpiped 96 Dodge Ram with a 12 valve Cummins, modified fuel plate, delivery valves, injectors, pump advanced, gutted AFC, so on and so forth, because smoke = power

-A revolving door of Mitsubishi Eclipses and crotch rockets

-A revolving door of the sort of people who associate with Mitsubishi Eclipses and crotch rockets.  

I am sure I gave my neighbors more than their fair share of gray hairs, short nights, and so on.  Eventually I grew up, moved to a different neighborhood with a bigger garage, and now keep it all clean and tight.  

Sometimes growing up takes time, not much you can do about it though.  

DarkMonohue
DarkMonohue Reader
2/13/22 11:20 a.m.
93gsxturbo said:

Sometimes growing up takes time, not much you can do about it though.  

While I appreciate the sentiment, I'm absolutely not interested in a "boys will be boys" approach. There are kids all over the neighborhood, and that means tired parents. My wife is already short on sleep due to spending all day every day raising our "precocious" (read: exhausting) two-year-old son.  If neither one of us is getting good sleep the whole affair will come apart at the seams. 

The kid seemed taken aback when I told him, "this is a working class neighborhood. That means we work." From what we've seen so far, that may not be a concept he's familiar with.  Might be a good opportunity to start those gears turning.

jh36
jh36 Dork
2/13/22 12:27 p.m.

In reply to DarkMonohue :

I think you are doing the right thing and probably teaching him concepts he has never heard or thought of (sad). 
You are explaining that he should be courteous and have respect. Your 2 year old will pass him in this concept in the next 12 months if someone doesn't enlighten him. 
It sucks that you are in this position. But it sounds like he has some respect for you if he is listening to your comments...even if he isn't correcting his actions yet. 
Your situation made this pop in my head...not a perfect parallel but...

my father worked hard as an engineer and played pretty hard too in the 50's. He had some neat cars and lived in a working class neighborhood as well. He had an idea that the neighborhood ringleader/teenager/thuggish kid would be egging his xk120 on halloween so he gave him a couple of bucks, let him sit in the car and asked him to "protect his property".  
They ended up connecting and that kid went on to be successful contributor to my hometown. 
Maybe a coincidence, but these sort of things do have an impact I think. If the kid has a glimmer of respect for what you are saying, and if you have the patience and energy, maybe you can have an impact on him. 

Noddaz
Noddaz UberDork
2/13/22 12:36 p.m.

Offer to help put a muffler on his car and while doing it causally mention how neighborly it can be to be neighbors.  It can't hurt to try at least once.  You know, open hand rather than fist.  

Antihero (Forum Supporter)
Antihero (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
2/13/22 12:45 p.m.
Noddaz said:

Offer to help put a muffler on his car and while doing it causally mention how neighborly it can be to be neighbors.  It can't hurt to try at least once.  You know, open hand rather than fist.  

This.

 

Also to the OP: going from open hand to fist is better than fist to open hand to borrow the analogy

 

 

DarkMonohue
DarkMonohue Reader
2/13/22 1:29 p.m.
Noddaz said:

Offer to help put a muffler on his car ...

I have considered that, and more than once, but given the the facts that a) he only took the muffler off a week or so ago and it's laying on the floor of  his garage and could be bolted back on at any time, b) my garage is in a state and I'm not prepared to weld, c) I've tried to downplay my skillset so as not to become his 24/7 on-call go-to guy, and d) I'm hesitant to reveal how much I have in terms of tools and equipment before I can be certain he or one of his friends won't rob me blind. I'm not sure they're criminally inclined, but haven't yet seen any indication that any of them have any ambition for gainful employment, so am trying not to tempt fate.

But we haven't ruled out that option.

I have some yard work to do today. Maybe I can catch him outside and thank him for helping reduce the traffic and the noise, maybe see if we can't get a productive conversation started about what his plans are and how to get there.

Maybe, if he's as unemployed as he looks, he'd be up for earning some cash helping me cull some feral blackberry bushes in the backyard. Might be a good opportunity to talk a little.

 

hybridmomentspass
hybridmomentspass HalfDork
2/13/22 4:33 p.m.

Heck, I'll say it - he want to sell that 2 for cheap?

 

 

 

As far as this goes, Im not sure you can do much. I'd say that yes, invite him over and try to mentor. But depending on the kid and his friends, I'd, personally, be concerned with them knowing all the cool stuff I have.

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
2/13/22 5:17 p.m.
DarkMonohue
DarkMonohue Reader
2/13/22 6:22 p.m.

In reply to NOHOME :

Don't think I haven't dreamt of that. With a toddler in the house and plenty of kids in the vicinity, my concern would be collateral damage. Might not be a hit with the dog owners in the neighborhood, either.

 

DarkMonohue
DarkMonohue Reader
2/13/22 6:28 p.m.
hybridmomentspass said:

Heck, I'll say it - he want to sell that 2 for cheap?

As far as this goes, Im not sure you can do much. I'd say that yes, invite him over and try to mentor. But depending on the kid and his friends, I'd, personally, be concerned with them knowing all the cool stuff I have.

He seems very fond of the MR2. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem capable of keeping cars between the ditches, so fondness or not, he's likely to ruin it, bit by bit. It's now sans RF fender in an attempt to repair some pretty minor tweaks from the latest off-road excursion. He didn't really need to remove the fender, but with more enthusiasm than experience, he did. And it only took him ten hours.

We'll see how things go for a week or two. Will probably text after a week or so. He's probably not eager to hear from me right yet.

 

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