The most charming problem we had were the seals. Seals bark loudly and constantly. One of them would shout "I am a seal!" in his own enthusiastic way, and the rest chorus their agreement a hundred dozen times every night. Seals have a lot of feelings.
We were starting to wonder if we were annoyed yet or if we were still charmed. Lourdes got the idea. She opened the windows to the tiny balcony and stood out there and joined in, crying out her part in the seal chorus. She'd had a hard week that week, with two job schedule changes, a sick relative, a friend who'd made a stupid cruel mistake, and a meal she tried to cook that ended up a black brick, and she let it all out, barking with the seals, yelping and roaring her tension away.
No one could hear her over the seals. The next night Mickey and I joined in. It took Curtis a week and a half to get in on the fun, but once he did he barked the loudest. Our neighbors caught us doing it and joined in, too. Nobody complained, because everyone accepted that it was just the seals.
The place was demolished four months later. By that time, we'd barked away all our tensions running back to the birth trauma. When we were worried we'd miss the place, and the seals, and the chorus, and most of all each other, we barked that off too.
I went back to that neighborhood this weekend. You can still hear the barking of the seals, but you can't see the seals anymore out on that slick brown pier. I think maybe it's just people now, all barking their troubles away, safe with the chorus of other pretend-seals that everyone accepts as part of the landscape.