Descent Into Los Altos

2021-09-15

I - Neighbors

The first time our group visits the house, I’m not able to go because I am at work in the office. However, we like it enough, and the price is right enough, and options are a little thin on the ground, so we sign a year-long lease for the place.

The second time we visit the house, it is to take a second look at the place and divvy up the rooms and rent. We have signed the lease, but won’t be moving in for another few weeks.

During this visit, we meet our next door neighbors for the first time. The following are a few excerpts from the spreadsheet we started to document our interactions with the neighbors.

[Next door neighbor] returned, approached [property manager] and his brother (still standing by their car in front of [our house]) and began to ask questions about us. [Property manager] stated that by law, he could not give any information about the tenants. [Neighbor] warned that if any cars were parked in front of his house, he would call the police.

Neighbor from [other house next door] approached unprompted without mask and stated in raised voice that he would be calling his lawyer if the guesthouse in the back of [our house] was rented or subletted out, and that there would be “hell to pay.” [Housemate] attempted to de-escalate the conversation, but neighbor responded that he was not interested in listening.

We noticed neighbor at [house next door] pacing at the end of his driveway, speaking on his phone while looking at us, apparently very upset. As we continued our conversation, the neighbor stepped into the street and raised his phone to take a picture or short video of us.

Since we moved in, we have had minimal further interactions with these neighbors. I figure that this is the best we can ask for.

II - Downtown

The number of polo shirts per capita is very noticeably higher here than at downtown Mountain View, or most places I typically frequent. 

I am not mentally prepared to spend over $15 on lunch, but I reflect that I have only myself to blame.

III - Evening Walks

The streets are missing sidewalks and streetlights. At night, the streets become pitch black, and there is nowhere to walk except in the road. I suspect that cost is not the reason for the missing infrastructure.

Wikipedia says: 

Los Altos strives to maintain a semi-rural atmosphere. Los Altos has few sidewalks except in commercial zones and along arterial roads. Minimum lot size for most residential housing is one-quarter of an acre. Most streets have broad dirt shoulders and little or no street lighting.

After dinner, I consider putting on a headlamp and venturing out into the inky darkness, but instead I end up sitting inside and marinating in my listlessness, again. I imagine that I am living on a farm.

IV - Mail

We get a lot of junk mail at the house. Mail from realtors about houses for sale. Mail from realtors inviting us to sell our house. Magazines about vineyards and wine and art. Luxury Home Magazine. The Deleon Insight, a real estate magazine published by Deleon Realty. The annual Guide to Private Schools, presented by Neil Ward Properties.

Many of these publications look nicer than most publications I have ever paid for, so I put them on our coffee table. I hope that this pleases our realtor overlords. 

V - Bike Rides

It is Sunday morning and I am out for a bike ride with my housemate. I am wearing bright orange and have a flashing red rear light. As we ride, the bike lane disappears into a car lane for an onramp to get onto the interstate.

I glance over my shoulder and see a wave of cars approaching. An Audi SUV passes, and then a moment later I am slammed forward by a sudden impact from behind. My feet come unclipped from the pedals, and for a moment I think that my rear wheel must have been shattered into pieces, but I find I am still rolling.

I look back in shock and see a silver Tesla Model S. The driver has slowed down and moved out of the lane in which she hit me. She turns her head and looks over at me, apparently surprised. She is a middle-aged or older white woman with blonde or silver colored curly hair. Maybe if I were a more emotive person, I would have yelled something or at least raised a hand in disbelief, but instead I just look at her, my mouth probably agape. 

I wait for her to pull over so we can exchange information, and I try to imagine what I might say to her. I can’t think of anything beyond asking her if she even saw me before hitting me with her car. But she keeps driving down the road, and soon she is out of sight.

We wait, but she does not come back. I begin to process that I have been hit and run. I’m not injured, but I wish she had taken some sort of responsibility for what she did.