On the Water

Photo Fred Lyon.

About fifteen years ago, I moved into an old apartment in San Francisco’s Western Addition, where you can see the fog line roll in from the Bay. There’s plenty of room, but the walls are so thin you have to ignore neighbors’ footfalls, dinner conversations, sexual habits.

For years, I wondered why my upstairs neighbor was leaving her cell phone on the floor. It would vibrate against the floorboards and resonate through my apartment.

When she finally moved out and someone new took her place, I was perplexed that he had the same habit. I mentioned it in frustration to my fiancé who had recently moved in, and he knitted his brow.

“Do you mean the foghorns?” He said.

“Oh,” I said. “…You can hear the foghorns from here.”