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Would you have done differently? (long rant)

January 22nd, 2007 at 02:06 pm

I think I may have made an enemy of my downstairs neighbor. We moved in around the same time (late August) but have just been "nodding acquaintances." She's also Chinese, though probably about 5-10 years older than I am. I initially made friendly talk but she didn't reciprocate so I left it at that. Her parents live with her and they also don't speak to me if we happen to run into each other.

A few weeks ago, my parents came to visit and I think my neighbors heard me speaking Chinese, because suddenly my neighbor began to speak to me, just a bit, but in Chinese. She still wasn't buddy-buddy or anything, but she'd say hi and how was your day? type of stuff. Until this weekend, that is. Unexpectedly she came knocking at my door and I invited her in. She seemed nervous and kept making small talk, so I tried to be extra friendly and offered tea and snacks.

Then she came to the heart of the matter; she asked if I would mind if she had a satellite dish installed, so they could receive Asian cable TV stations. I said that was a matter to ask the apartment complex people, not me. Then she said, would I mind having the dish installed off MY balcony?

My immediate reaction was, if she were a close friend or relative, then I wouldn't hesitate to say Yes. But she's a relative stranger, and to me, asking that sort of favor, which involves me as a third party including all sorts of responsibilities, is really pushing the "kindness to strangers" policy too far. I first asked her if she'd tried placing the dish just outside and seeing if she could receive signal. She said my balcony was blocking the sky; I told her to try moving it out from under my balcony. She said I was higher up so I should receive better signal. I then blurted out that no matter what, satellite signal comes from teh sky no matter what, doesn't matter if you're on the ground or the 6-10 feet higher up where I am on the second floor.

That sort of pissed her off, me being direct (and she probably thought I was being obstinate). Then I said I wasn't comfortable with having people enter my apartment to install the dish. She said they'd use a ladder and do it outside. Then I asked what things I'd be liable for. She didn't understand the word, and I couldnt' really get the point across because I was using Chinese; I was trying to explain possible legal issues and stuff, like if the dish broke or fell off my porch, what in the contract would prevent me from being blamed, stuff like that.

then she tried to appeal to me personally. She said her parents were bored and really wanted to have that cable TV installed. Sure, I felt badly; one of my priorities is to take care of my parents. Still, using that tactic was a bit sneaky, makes me look like a total bad guy. I asked her more about her parents and then she revealed they were returning back to China at the end of next month! So she'd only be having dish satellite installed for one month? Yes. I then told her there were options to download/watch Chinese broadcast TV and movies online, or they can rent videos from our local Asian grocery store and library. She then got angry and said I was not a considerate person.

Did I do the wrong thing? My main concern was the basic issue that, since my property (balcony) was being involved, then no matter what, I would have some responsibility of whatever was on it or attached to it. Never mind the fact I felt it was rude for the neighbor/stranger to presume she could pressure me into agreeing, and then for her to result to pity and then bullying tactics. Still, I tried to say No nicely and I still end up feeling like the bad person. Makes me just want to throw up my hands and scream (Aiya!!!).

16 Responses to “Would you have done differently? (long rant)”

  1. Ima saver Says:

    I think you did the right thing!!

  2. scfr Says:

    She really put you on the spot, so I'd say she was the one who was not considerate.

  3. monkeymama Says:

    I don't think you could say yes without talking to the landlord anyway. Like you said, it is not your call. What else can you do?

  4. miclason Says:

    I think you did the right thing.

  5. LuxLiving Says:

    It's her decision to wad her panties, not yours! You're okay. If she didn't realize the answer to her question could go either way, she'd not of asked. She just didn't like the answer.

    If she just knew it would be okay, she wouldn't of asked she'd just of had them install by ladder and you'd of come home to find it there.

    It's actually the landlord's decision, but I don't THINK you'd be responsible, but I've been wrong before! Smile Even w/the landlord's okay, I would think she'd still need your permission to dangle something off your balcony.

  6. carol Says:

    You did the right thing. SHE was rude, selfish, and inconsiderate.

  7. Broken Arrow Says:

    You're fine.

    In fact, I wonder if she's not up to something somewhat illegal. And then who would be the one liable for it? That's right, you. Because it would be off of your porch. And installing satellite for only ONE month? No, that's complete and utter bull.

    I'm glad it wasn't me, because if someone did that to me... um, I might have given her a piece of my mind. Big Grin

  8. denisentexas Says:

    I don't think you did anything wrong at all. I'd have handled it the same way, I think.

  9. JanH Says:

    SHE wasn't the considerate person, continuing to put you on the spot when you clearly were uncomfortable with the situation. I think you were as nice as possible, considering that she was pressuring you to do this. I think you did the right thing. No telling what you would have been into, especially if she moved or something else happened. I SO have a hard time with saying no to people who are more aggressive than me. Don't beat yourself up. You don't reallly know her or her family.

  10. princessperky Says:

    sheeseh she was rude to ask, much less be upset at you not doing it.

  11. fern Says:

    I don't think it's very likely that a dish satellite would fall once installed (they are bolted on) but for me, it would be more a matter of you having to look at something of an eyesore on your porch all the time, especially if you are ever in the habit of going out there and using it.

    I think you were well within your rights to decline.

  12. fairy74 Says:

    I would have handled it exactly the way you did!

  13. Thrifty Ray Says:

    They could have installed that satellite on the roof...and it would have been even higher for her viewing delight. In any case, it was pretty presumptuous of her to even ask- and then add the crassness of getting angry and attacking your character....talk about someone you DO NOT need as a 'friend'...I would have declined as well.

  14. Carolina Bound Says:

    All of a sudden she's friendly -- because she wants to use you. OH, and then she's mad -- because you wouldn't let her. Steer clear of that one.

  15. baselle Says:

    Wow, this so reminds me of another entry of another blog here. A co worker of Flash wanted to use Flash's living room for her daughter's wedding, and then got mad when Flash refused.

    Flash did the right thing, and so did you. Big Grin
    I'd revel in being the total bad guy. Being a bad guy to a crook isn't bad.

  16. jersey jen Says:

    it looks like you did the right thing. your neighbor was being unreasonable. i guess the delivery didn't fit your neighbor's ears. i guess in chinese culture, they tend to be more polite and indirect with responses.

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