“My sympathies,” I say to Todd whom I encounter as he comes out of his garden apartment “for living in a construction zone.”

I know Todd only at a hello-how-are-you level, but I am sure he is a quiet man.

“A year,” he says. “Both sides.”

Last month when I worked in this garden the crew on the house next door were breaking apart the back porch on the third floor and dropping large sections of it to the ground below, raising noise and dust and the possibility of decapitation if the splintered sections flew astray. I kept away from the intervening fence, in case.

Now this crew, numbering at least eight, is putting up siding to cover the gaps in the same back wall. Bam goes the pneumatic hammer. Bam bam bam. Their banter is loud and punctuated by giggles. In a rare hiatus one of them barks like a dog. I mostly think well of them, nothwithstanding one of them cut the irrigation line to this garden so that the water ran down the sidewalk into the drain. Notwithstanding the resulting dead plants. Nothwithstanding they have worn a path through the groundcover of the curb planting because a truck is always blocking access to the street.

Every crisis an opportunity, right? The stepping stones I installed give the curbstrip way more character. The dead plants will be replaced by more drought tolerant ones.

Poor Todd. He wasn’t kidding and then some. A root-rattling grinding comes from the north. A concrete saw? Meanwhile at a different venue to the west a motor grunts, moving product. Concrete comes and concrete goes.

The city is feverish with upgrading. The handsome Victorian for sale on my street will sell for millions and be upgraded.

A siren wails on Mission Street, a helicopter thwacks overhead. The only thing missing is a leaf blower.

Cue the blower. It’s almost funny. Derangement is a hoot.

Zuiriga deals with the racket.

Zuiriga deals with the racket.




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