Big City Etiquette


A general question of San Francisco etiquette: exactly how many drunken choruses of “American Pie” should you allow the people outside of your apartment to go through at 1 am before calling the cops on them? And a follow-up: what the hell do the cops do when they get those complaints? Do they actually come out and “shoo” the drunks away, or do they tase them? Is there gunplay? Or do the cops say “There, there now” in a soothing tone of voice and then hang up on me, chuckling? Am I put on a list of grumpy old geezers somewhere?

I've been in this city for months and it still feels like everybody's looking at me, you know?

I’ve been in SF for months and it still feels like everybody’s staring at me.

And assuming they’re listening in – and they’re ALWAYS listening in – what’s the NSA think about all this?

It’s complicated, living in San Francisco.

Further, when is it legal to drop a desk onto the car whose alarm has been blaring unceasingly for what seems like forever? At what point in time do the needs of the many for a decent night’s sleep for chrissake outweigh the needs of the few, or the one, for a functioning automobile?

Has this question gotten to the Supreme Court yet? Presumably Alito will rule against me because he’s a mean-spirited, cranky old bastard obsessed with property rights, but what does Kennedy think?

This kind of crap happens to me about once a week on the bus.

This kind of crap happens to me about once a week on the bus.

And another thing. Is it okay to have a loud conversation on your cell phone in an extremely crowded bus? If so, is it okay for me to offer career and life suggestions based upon the half of the conversation I can’t help but hear?

Seriously. I often have very helpful suggestions.

Him:  [shouting, three inches from my face] Goddammit, Honey! Blah blah blah blah blah. You tell little Jimmy that I said blah blah blah blah! Also, blah blah blah! Goodbye!

Me: Kid giving you trouble, eh? That’s bad. Have you considered military school?

Him: What?

Me: I said, ‘Maybe you should ship the kid off to military school.’ Look, there’s no shame in being an awful parent. Well, there is, but whatever. It’s just how God made you. We should get coffee and talk about it. You’re buying – I spent this month’s check on aluminum foil.

Him: Uh, my stop. [bolts]

While we’re at it, there’s a sign in the front of all the buses saying, “By law you must offer these seats to the elderly and handicapped.” And people do. What’s up with that? Are they just nice? Are these nice folks the same people singing “American Pie” outside my window at all hours of the night? If so, I don’t really want to see them shot. Or even tased, really.

As I said, it’s complicated, living in San Francisco. Maybe I’ll just invest in earplugs. And more aluminum foil.

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2 Responses to “Big City Etiquette”

  1. Karl Malden Says:

    In the history of the US, no car alarm has ever gone off during an actual car robbery. The actual function of alarms is rumored to be the NSA tracking people who walk near your apartment at night.

    Alternatively, the function may be to reassure residents that their cars are still there at 2 am.

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