I think the trendy word for it is “triggering”: a word that will instantly have a normally calm and placid person frothing at the mouth and chewing the carpet.
For me, that word (or one of them) is “barbecue” and in this instance it’s the result of a question in the forum: are charcoal barbies allowed on balconies?
My loathing of the lowest form of cuisine, mostly stems from the time years ago when (as we describe in the podcast) we had a downstairs neighbour who lived in the country and came into the city at weekends, starting his Friday night of fun by burning off the fat on his barbie left from the previous weekend.
When we complained about the smoke and smell – grilled prawns seemed to be a particular favourite – he said, “Surely it’s not that bad”.
Then we discovered that all the time there had been a by-law in place that banned barbies from the block’s balconies. Game over!
Fast forward to our current block where a former chairman loved nothing more than burning a bit of beef on his balcony.
Once he had been deposed (for trying to ban pets from the block, among other missteps) he managed to fill an adjoining apartment with smoke just when the committee was in situ, debating the possibility of banning barbecues.
They still didn’t get the necessary votes at the AGM.
For mine, the worst culprits are young male tenants who can’t cook, so fire up every night and could not care less where the smoke and smell from their barbie goes.
The pathological reluctance of various committees and AGMs to curb the antisocial beef burning of residents is strange, since it’s only a small minority of apartments that actually have barbecues.
Even asking that maybe permission to have a barbecue could be dependent on its safe and considerate use, or limits on maybe two or three nights a week, get no support.
A largely toothless code of conduct, read as assiduously as the by-laws (i.e. not very much at all) is the best we can do.
Meanwhile I have been publicly mocked and viciously reviled for my “unAustralian” desire not to have my flat stunk out by others’ carnivorous cremations.
“This man is a vegetarian!” was the accusation roared at one AGM. I wasn’t then, but I am now.
“Do you know where smoke goes?” I asked a wealthy finance trader who’d just installed a giant barbecue on his terrace. “No, and I don’t care,” was his reply.
I fantasize about taking the strata scheme to NCAT for allowing a by-law that is unreasonable, given that I have to leave my windows open in summer due to another by-law that doesn’t allow air-conditioning.
I therefore have to choose between being roasted in the oppressive heat or smoked in the neighbours’ noxious fumes. Does that qualify as “harsh and unconscionable”?
But life’s too short to go around antagonising meat addicts. Now, where was I? Triggering … ah, yes … don’t get me started on people flicking cigarette ends off balconies.
You can read the question about charcoal barbecues and my much less triggered response HERE.
Elsewhere on the Forum
- Update on stray cats – apparently an apartment owner is trapping them and having vet euthanise them. That’s HERE.
- Can the strata manager be invited to chair the AGM when the law says it must be the chairperson if they are present? That’s HERE.
- And how can you get your question answered when you’re not even sure how to register and sign in? That’s HERE.
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