Posted by: forgingahead | September 11, 2008


We live in San Francisco. It’s close quarters. I grew up here so it’s what I know and I don’t mind. Usually.

One of the ways I think us city folk manage living with shared walls and floors and ceilings is that we don’t make a lot of noise.

The iPod has been a real boon to that effort…before iPods we would, occasionally, blast music through the speakers. Now legions are bobbing their heads along to tunes no one else can hear.

I think the other factor that helps SF folk coexist is the weather. Most of the time the temp hovers around 50 degrees and often the day dawns with fog. Then perhaps it clears a bit mid-day. Then the wind picks up pushing the fog inland creating what locals call a breeze and visitors call a howling force of nature.

So windows remain closed. And there’s not a lot of people hanging out on their decks sipping wine and pontificating about the state of the world.

Yes, the world of SF is a very different place when we have a hot spell but that’s another story.

This one is about boundaries and how our neighbor has none. Or doesn’t care. Or is so insanely self-involved that she actually WANTS people to know her business.

Kelly wrote a very funny riff on just this subject. She inspired me to share a story or two of my own.

Back to my neighbor…I need to come up a moniker for her. How about TFB (trust fund baby)? Not sure if she is a TFB but she sure has the makings of one. Ah, that’s who she reminds me of…the classic TFB Paris Hilton.

Here’s what TFB does…with disturbing regularity. She sits on her back deck regardless of the weather (gotta love her commitment) and talks on her cell phone. Loudly. About herself. No I’m not so bored that I listen at keyholes. But the odd comment sometimes reaches my finely tuned ears and, like an annoying hum in the background that once you notice you can’t tune out, I start to follow her conversation.

Here’s a classic…”I’m not close to anyone because I got really hurt before and now I don’t need anyone. Well, I mean I like you. But I just don’t care what other people think and I’m just going to look out for me. Of course, you I like, but in general I just don’t need people.”

I feel a little bad for the people on the other end of these calls.

But the real victims here? Those of us in range of her strident voice trying desperately to keep our carefully constructed ideal of a little peace and quiet in the thick of a vibrant city from crashing down around our ankles. Yep, it’s tough.

investing in some Bose noise canceling headphones,


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