Back in 1994 I lived at 24th and Mission in San Francisco, across the street from a bar called The Skyscraper. At some point during the year and a half I lived there the bar changed hands and became a karaoke bar. I was ruthlessly kept awake by the loud music and karaoke singing until 2am Thursday through Sunday. In the summer it was worse because the place got too hot, so they would open the door and let the evil, poison music flood the street.

When someone finished singing, the karaoke machine would play a little synth fanfare, and I think someone working at the bar had moderation ability, because if someone had been particularly good (or had some other attribute not apparent to me, scrunched under my comforter with earplugs in, getting an ear infection) the fanfare would be followed by an extra "ta-daa!" synth noise. I became mildly obsessed with reproducing that fanfare and tadaa! at the next couple of parties my roommate and I had.

One night there was a loud argument outside the bar. It went on so long that I peeked out my blinds to see an Asian couple arguing heartily directly across the street. The man was starting to get physical, so I called 911 for my first time:

"I need the police."
"Is this an emergency?"
"Um, uh... someone's hitting someone!"
"I'll put you right through."

The police drove by and caused the guy to chill out, and I lay back down and tried to calm myself. About five minutes later they started up again, but before I could bring myself to call the cops they got into a car and drove off. I have always hoped that she is OK.

Eventually the bar (got?) shut down, and the new owners (who of course inherited the otherwise-impossible-to-get liquor license) found that the old bar had been a sex and drug parlor, with private booths in the back and disgusting residues to be cleaned. Now it's a decent bar with, thank goodness, no karaoke.

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