I've been living in Palermo, Sicily for nearly a year. I do love the place, but my oh my is Palermo a fickle mistress.
My latest bugbear is the noise created by the constant slamming of doors, prompting me to wonder if all Palermitans are actually somewhat hard-of-hearing.
Why is it that so many people here seem incapable of 'closing' the doors to their flats rather than slamming them?
I just don't get it. You'd think that living in a chaotic, bustling city, people here would do everything in their power to make their home a quiet refuge, a place of tranquillity where they can finally relax and close the door quietly against the noise of car horns, screeching tyres and ambulance sirens.
But nothing seems further from the truth. I'm now considering my third move in less than three months in a bid to escape another batch of neighbours who, when leaving the house, seem to want the noise level to reflect some kind of immeasurable rage.
But they're probably just popping out for some ice cream.
Why is this basic consideration for other people so lacking? For me, an Englishman abroad, it's bizarre. I'm pretty sure that door construction is fairly uniform throughout Western Europe. Even in Palermo, doors boast the technical wizardry known as 'door knobs' or 'handles.'
In fact I'm actually starting to think that Italian door frames must be constructed to a particularly high standard in order to absorb the thunderous impact they withstand on a daily basis.
What I'm experiencing here is not exceptional. Indeed, I'm told by many Palermitans that slamming doors is 'a cultural thing' - and not just in Palermo - evidently this is a peculiarly Italian phenomenon.
But dismissing this as 'cultural' is just the classic cop-out position of individuals refusing to take personal responsibility for anti-social behaviour.
If door-slamming was a centuries-old Italian tradition then the Mona Lisa would've been shelved as Da Vinci slashed his canvas in frustration at crushing levels of noise pollution. Verdi's Traviata would've featured ear-splitting drum sequences to reflect the sounds around him.
Or maybe it really is a 'cultural thing,' an age-old tradition that, once upon a time, had Michelangelo flinching as he heard his neighbour leave unexpectedly, his flailing chisel clipping off too much marble at the vital moment, leaving the statue of David with a particularly small penis.
Cultural or not, however, at best this infuriating habit is friendly-fire - unconscious, involuntary behaviour.
But why not make a conscious decision - wherever you live - not to shake your communal living space to its foundation?
Involuntary or otherwise, to me it sends out a clear message: I don't give a toss.
Of course, in Palermo there are bigger fish to fry. In a city facing huge challenges to put a lid on its dark past, surely even a sensitive Englishman like myself can learn to live with the nuisance of noise pollution.
I hear you. Loud and clear. With what's left of my hearing.
But at a time when the Italian State seems so uncaring and incompetent, I'm astounded that the citizens here don't pull together in the one private and independent area - home - where we can help each other enjoy a civilised sense of peace and calm.
Perhaps I'm asking too much.
Well, if and when I go and find another city in which to live, I'll pull the door quietly behind me and you won't even hear me leaving.