Midtown, keep it down

Megan Biss is a journalism student from San Francisco who doesn’t think Sacramento is a cow town

I live in the Midtown neighborhood in Sacramento, an area that is definitely urban despite an abundance of parking, trees and relative quiet.

Well, it was quiet—until my new neighbors moved in.

Within weeks, the alleyway that separates my bedroom window from their apartment complex morphed from unassuming traffic mover to party central.

Even on Sundays.

Even on Wednesdays.

The first couple of times, members of our household gritted their teeth and hoped for the best. Then one Sunday, I came home late and discovered no fewer than 20 very drunk, very loud men spilling into the street.

Thereafter, my parents and I adopted a zero-tolerance policy on all nocturnal loitering. Six very effective calls to the Sacramento police non-emergency number later, the only noise coming from the alley was the horrific banging of the garbage trucks.

In case you’re wondering, the answer is yes, I felt bad—for, like, 4.5 seconds.

I grew up in the East Bay, an area that is definitely suburban despite its proximity to large, cosmopolitan cities. I couldn’t help but feel like that clichéd caricature of a stuffy white person peering suspiciously through my mini-blinds and calling the cops on my non-white counterparts. However, any remaining vestige of suburban isolationist guilt was quickly erased when I realized that I wasn’t “picking on” anybody. I was doing the entire neighborhood a favor.

After all, we are the same people who will sit on our porches and exchange pleasantries with passers-by. Unlike in most places I’ve lived, neighbors are on a first-name basis around here. We share more than just simple proximity in Midtown.

Rather than suffer in collective silence until giving up and seeking quieter pastures in a neighborhood with a name like “Bel Tierra at The Promontory,” the residents of Midtown should deal with unpleasant situations with the same proactive charm that makes life here so pleasant in the first place.