A friend of ours, whom for the sake of this story I will just call Karen since that’s her real name, lives in an upstairs condominium two blocks from us. Her back patio/balcony overlooks a sloping bank strewn with majestic, 100-year-old eucalyptus trees, and other trees added by the developers of the complex.

She was telling us that early in the morning—and she is a very early riser—she likes to be up before the sun rises, make coffee, sit out on the balcony and sip her coffee, and then just sort of “putter around tidying up before sunrise.”

When she sweeps, she drags all the eucalyptus leaves, bark, bird feathers, seeds and whatever else has accumulated over the last 24 hours, into a little pile near the edge of the balcony, which has a safety railing surroundng it made of wrought iron. She told me that to make sure she doesn’t dump all her leaves and other stuff on the neighbors below, the last two or three sweeping motions have to be with great gusto to pitch the junk several yards out by the time it reaches the ground.

The other day, when talking to her nextdoor neighbor, also an upstairs unit owner, he casually mentioned that “the last few mornings, very early in the morning, my girlfriend and I have been startled awake by what sounds like a broom hitting the wrought-iron fence—you know, that fence that’s attached to the wall we share in common? Do you have any idea what that might be?”

Karen offered, “It’s probably me hitting the wrought-iron fence with my broom.”

“Well,” says the neighbor, timidly, “do you think you could maybe stop doing that? At least so early in the morning?”

Karen told us “I never in a million years would have thought that I was waking the neighbors doing that.”