Hard to Say is This Recording’s weekly advice column. It will appear every Wednesday until the Earth perishes in a fiery blaze, or until North West turns 40. Get no-nonsense answers to all of your most pressing questions by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org or by dropping us a note at our tumblr.
My neighbors frequently smoke generous amounts of marijuana and play loud music. I am hesitant to approach them and complain because I don’t want the situation to become any worse than it already is.
Is there any way to handle this without bringing any heat on myself?
In order to exploit the naivete of the typical pothead, you have to know their weakness: a rampant paranoia that extends to every aspect of their lives. For a true pothead, it is an addiction like any other: and while music and food may be a part of the fun, the drug is the thing.
If your neighbors believe the police are aware of their activities, who knows how their behavior might change. Take the business card of a local detective and slide it under their door. If this doesn’t mitigate any of the annoying behavior, wait a few days and ask them to catsit for you.
My girlfriend Megan is not a Christian, so I am unsure of how to include her in my family’s Christmas celebrations. Is it even appropriate for me to get her a Christmas gift? Our relationship is relatively new, so I don’t want to commit a faux pas.
There is a certain pride in some people about not celebrating Christmas. “Who is this Christ fellow, and what has he done that I am to appreciate?” they insist. Well, we celebrate everyone’s birthday, even though in the grand scheme of things, it is a meaningless day. But then one person’s birthday comes along, and the only expectation of that birthday is you give and receive gifts, and it’s like: No, this is where I draw the line.
When I was a kid, I celebrated Hannukah. Say nothing of the potential fire hazards, the story of Hannukah is quite inspiring. I believe a bunch of Jews held out without much in the way of anything, and their faith in God preserved them. If those people had been given a turkey dinner and a bunch of presents under a tree that didn’t involve slavery to provide the water for, I believe they would have been happy.
As to your girlfriend, if she requests a gift, get her something nice. If she doesn’t, consider yourself lucky.
Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.