A neighbor's stereo — sounds like the Middle Eastern family across the way — is just barely, faintly audible outside. When a truck goes by the music gets drowned out for a few moments, then rises again. From the recycling bins there's a brief cascade of glassy clinks as a neighbor dumps their bottles in. Footsteps shuffle up the stairs out back, the gate by the pool swings shut with a resounding clank, and someone's keys jingle as they walk past. Somewhere nearby, somebody is unloading wood, tossing one board atop another. The cat purrs roughly from the back of the sofa.