Tonight, I went to an art opening at Artspace Buffalo with some department folks, and then I headed over to Sugar City to check out Malcolm Rollick‘s show. Malcolm hit me up on Couchsurfing looking for a place to crash for the night, and I decided that would work out just fine. Turns out Malcolm and Chris are super awesome and we had a great time tonight. Of course, the three of us and Danielle spent the late evening sitting in our living room, eating food, listening to some records, and talking.

As is the norm for our neighborhood, the kids in the apartments and houses around us were being pretty loud, getting drunk and playing bad music. Some of this activity was clearly on our porch — I’m not sure whether or not it was specifically connected to the people who live downstairs from us or not, but I guess at some point the police got called. When Danielle went outside to let Toby pee before going to bed, she found a $75 noise violation ticket on our door. What gives?

We were not outside — we were sitting inside. We were not even drunk. We were listening to a record quietly in our living room, unwinding after a long day. Malcolm and Chris told us to call the police non-emergency number and see if we could get it straightened out right away. I called, and the woman on the other end told me that she would put a notice out on the wire for the officers in the area to come and talk to me. I guess that works? But that was over an hour ago, and I’m still waiting on an officer. I am pretty sure they won’t show up tonight. It’s getting late and I’m getting tired, anyway. Everyone else went to bed, I told them I’d handle it and they should go to sleep.

Here’s the thing. Clearly some people were being rowdy on our property. In that sense, someone who lives here is responsible. However, we were actually about to call the police about the noise and disruption when the people suddenly cleared out, so we figured it wasn’t going to be an issue. Our neighbors continue to be drunk and noisy on their porches. However, we’re the ones with the ticket.

The police made no attempt to contact us other than stick the ticket on our door. Nobody spoke with either Danielle or myself. Something about this just doesn’t seem right — how can you issue a ticket to someone who wasn’t even present when an incident took place? How can you be held responsible for people you don’t even know (and haven’t even seen — I didn’t even look out the window to see who was down there)? How can you be held responsible for people who were disturbing your peace?

I’m wondering: since the police clearly aren’t coming back tonight, what kinds of legal recourses do I have to fight this? This is clearly and obviously bullshit. I have three other witnesses who can corroborate my story. We have had no problems with noise violations in the past. (I’m sure our neighbors have.) Why do I have the $75 ticket sitting on my living room coffee table? Who should I talk to about this? (And, though it isn’t a legal difficulty, here’s another tough question: why does it seem that whenever things are turning around something stupid happens?)