I live in a condominium near San Francisco’s Civic Center. My unit is one of the most basic in this building — a large efficiency studio, under four hundred square feet. The floor plan is similar to a long hallway.
I have no complaints about this. My long, narrow apartment is the most comfortable place I’ve ever lived, and if you saw the house where I grew up or the rented studio where for nearly twenty-eight years my life deteriorated with the rest of the building you’d understand. I might as well have struck gold when I had the long-awaited privilege of moving here at age fifty.
After five years, I still giggle and pretend I’m a very rich woman every time I get into the shower. It’s a combination bathtub/shower head, which I never had before.
The windows in my current home are double-paned, and although I won’t try to speak for others it’s clear the contractor did it right in my unit. I’ve slept through storms, Tenderloin protests and probably worse things which no one wanted to discuss.
If you live in a dicey section of a city, one thing you’ll learn from experience is you don’t need to hear a lot of details to know you should be careful when stepping outside. Double-paned windows keep me calm, but not ignorant.
The windows aren’t infallible, though. As a meteor entered the atmosphere, the resulting sonic boom woke me with everyone else on the west coast one morning awhile back.
I don’t contact management with indoor noise complaints, and I don’t knock on the offenders’ doors to address it with them, either. Yes, better planning would have averted a lot of it, but currently the noise isn’t beyond reason. We can make judgment calls and refrain from raising hell with others about their music, barking dogs and embarrassing bodily functions.
A note on embarrassing bodily functions: It’s easy enough to ignore that type of noise and dismiss it as unavoidable, but who’s the goofiepie on my floor who bursts out laughing every time she hears a…Oh, never mind.
If you see your own life in this blog post, the link to a N.Y. Times article may be of interest to you: