Dear Urban Diplomat: Help! My neighbour’s kid has some serious Fortnite rage

Dear Urban Diplomat: Help! My neighbour’s kid has some serious Fortnite rage

He plays into the wee hours, screaming profanities at the top of his lungs. Not only does his raging wake me up, but it’s teaching my much younger kids words I’d prefer they not hear yet. Plus, I’m honestly starting to worry about this gamer kid’s mental and physical health. He never goes outside! What (if anything) should I do?
—Scream Time, Grange Park

While fresh air is undoubtedly healthier than screen time, it’s not your job to play co-parent, so don’t (I repeat: do not) put Children’s Aid on speed dial. That said, there’s no reason his nightly battle royales should disturb your sleep. Pay your neighbours a visit and let them know you don’t appreciate the IRL live stream (and that you’d prefer their son kept his commentary PG). If he doesn’t shut up, call 311. City noise bylaws stipulate that neighbours keep it down after 11 p.m., and that rule also applies to game-raging teens.


Dear Urban Diplomat,
My partner and I recently bought a condo with a mezuzah on the door. We’re not Jewish, but we left it up because we thought it was pretty. Our Jewish neighbours complained to the condo board. Shouldn’t they mind their own business? Or are we being insensitive?
—In Good Faith, Quayside

For the uninitiated: mezuzahs aren’t chi-chi decorations to hang on your door. They contain sacred scrolls with verses from the Torah and are added to doorposts to remind Jews of God’s laws. They can also serve a secondary purpose: to create a sense of community by signalling to others that the household is Jewish, which might be part of the reason your neighbours felt uncomfortable about you leaving it up. Buy a wreath and pass the mezuzah along to a Jewish friend, or drop it off at a nearby synagogue. But whatever you do, don’t throw it in the trash. Mezuzahs, like other sacred objects, must be given a proper cemetery burial.


Dear Urban Diplomat,
A friend of a friend has been subletting the extra bedroom in my apartment since January. I’d hung out with him at a few parties before he moved in, and he seemed trustworthy, so I didn’t bother putting his name on the lease. That turned out to be a big mistake. He owes me three months’ rent and is being extremely cagey about when I might get it. I’ve been covering his share, but I can’t keep it up for much longer. Do I have any recourse?
—Lessor Evil, The Annex

I’m afraid you’re on the hook regardless of whether or not your freeloading roomie forks over his portion of the rent. But it might be possible for you to recoup some of your losses. If you can get him to acknowledge that he owes you the specific amount in writing (email and text both count), one option is to settle up in small claims court. Be aware: it costs $95 to file a claim, and it can take up to three months to get a court date. If you can’t carry the rent for that long, consider option two: playing dirty. Shame him, guilt him, post on his Facebook wall, call his mom—whatever it takes to get him to pony up.


Dear Urban Diplomat,
I’m going on a fifth date with this girl I really like. She suggested a bar on Dundas West near her house. I was game until I remembered I’d been kicked out of there once for getting too wasted and yelling at the owner, who banned me for life. Should I risk showing up and hope the staff don’t recognize me? Or do I have to cop to my frat-boy past?
—One Man Banned, Parkdale

It’s safe to assume you’re not the first brutish bro to have caused a drunken ruckus there, so chances are they won’t remember you. But that doesn’t change the fact that if you do go, you’ll spend most of your date feeling distracted and anxious about blowing your cover. Assuming you’re no longer the type of guy who spends his weekends slamming beers like it’s frosh week, fess up and frame your bad behaviour as ancient history. If she likes you (and since she’s put up with you for this long, it seems like she does), odds are she’ll be willing to excuse your past life and either pick a new date spot or take a chance on Plan A.


Dear Urban Diplomat,
The other day, I found an unsigned Presto card on the floor of Spadina station. I checked the balance on a nearby machine, and it had almost $50 on it, so I pocketed it. The odds of someone actually coming back for it seem low to me, and I figured it would be wasted cash otherwise, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to tap it. What’s the proper TTC etiquette?
—Finders, Weepers, Davenport

First, check online to see if the card is registered. If it isn’t, you’re right—the ill-fated owner isn’t likely to get it back. Unregistered, unclaimed cards that are turned in to the TTC’s lost and found are pitched. Still, finders needn’t be keepers. If you’re feeling guilty enough to write in, I suspect using your newfound fare will haunt you. So give it to someone who really needs it. Most shelters accept preloaded Presto cards as donations.

Send your questions to the Urban Diplomat at urbandiplomat@torontolife.com