Last Summer a friend of mine got married in San Francisco, and through Airbnb, the website that allows individuals to rent out lodging, rented an entire house above the Castro for his traveling guests.
A large balcony overlooked the skyline, but it was difficult to enjoy because an unreasonable neighbor called the owner to complain if anyone so much as laughed too loudly. On at least three occasions in one afternoon calls came in telling us the neighbor, who we dubbed “Buzz Killington,” was complaining.
Less than a year later I’m living with my brother in New York when a Wall Street guy rented the loft downstairs, then the steady stream of tourists began cycling through. “Nah I’m not even living there! I get over $500 a night through Airbnb,” the Wall Street guy, seemingly drunk, boasted to another neighbor, who needless to say wasn’t as impressed with him as he was with himself.
While Airbnb probably works fine when properly-hosted, there are numerous issues that arise when hotel guests are living among you, sans the accompanying hotel staff. Someone’s always locked out and looking to neighbors to allow them into the building. “Where are you going?” my brother asked a guy who pushed past him at the door. “Upstairs, asshole,” the tourist replied.
Sometimes guests decide to party on the rooftop directly above us, which is prohibited, and they often ask for directions and advice. This morning, not knowing what to do with unwanted garbage, a group of tourists just left the bag in the foyer, where it still remains.
Basically, the neighbors are expected to be the doormen, concierge, security, and porters for the self-satisfied Wall Street Airbnb operator who rented the unit under false pretenses in a city with a severe housing shortage.
With each passing day I’m more empathetic to good ole Buzz Killington, who didn’t sign up to live next door to a flophouse and listen to an endless stream of cackling tourists two feet from his back window.
When I think of that neighbor calling the Airbnb operator dozens of times a week, I now think to myself, “Give ‘em Hell, Buzz! Give ‘em Hell.”