"Before you gripe about the guy next door and the kids across the street, what kind of neighbor are you?" asks (Cleveland) Plain Dealer columnist Regina Brett. Livable communities require residents who understand that even though we may all have "individual rights," it's important to be considerate of others' rights to enjoy their homes in peace, quiet and reasonably esthetically pleasing surroundings.
Is your dog outside barking on and off during the day when others would like to sit outside or keep their windows open? Do you have a lawn mower loud enough to drown out a landing jet? A two- or four-wheel motorized vehicle loud enough to drown out a clap of thunder?
Do you leave your garbage out for days? Fail to maintain your front yard? Play music loud enough that people on the next block can hear it? Do you (or your visitors) park in a way that blocks the sidewalk for pedestrians?
I'm not sure I'd want to go as far as, say, Switzerland, where apartment buildings have rules about everything from what time of day you're allowed to use your shower to some blocks requiring everyone to display a window box. But I do wish more Americans would stop and wonder "Will this bother my neighbors?"