Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sounds of the city

We live on Broadway, although our apartment sits in the back of the building and that shields us from much of the noise on the bustling street below.

Still, as of 11:30 tonight, this is what I've heard outside in the last couple of hours:

*In the top of the seventh of the Twins-Yankees game, I thought it was safe to get up from the couch and hit the fridge. Kate Hudson's paramour had just predictably drilled a game-tying homer and 49-year-old Jorge Posada was coming to the plate. As I closed the refrigerator, I heard four loud claps and a scream, a whoop actually, from our next-door neighbor. Very nice guy, great family man. He works at Yankee Stadium. Avid fan. Indoctrinates his small, pliable children into the Yankee State. In the elevator they're always wearing Yankee hats and Yankee jerseys and Yankee socks. If this guy's clapping, and screaming this loudly, and if his boys are also yelling at a softer but more annoying decibel, something bad has just happened to the Twins. And it can't just be a replay of A-Rod's blast. But what could have happened just during the trip to get a drink?

I hurry back to the TV in time to see the replay of Posada's opposite-field home run. Two and a half innings remain in the game, but it's over. I know it, and the full house in the Metrodome for the final Twins game realizes it too, even if, as Minnesotans, they're too nice to say it out loud. The celebration next door starts about an hour later. Those damn kids should be in bed.

*We listen to the continued cries of a woman from a nearby building. Off and on for the last day, she's been yelling, "This is not the life I wanted! This is not the life I wanted!" Best guess is that she's an emotionally disturbed person who is apparently living with another troubled soul, because her anguished cries are answered with a man yelling, "And this isn't the life I wanted!" Back and forth they go, each repeating the same mantra. We hear it through our open window in the living room. I'm somewhat surprised their neighbors haven't called the authorities, unless they're just used to the tormented shouts. Knowing nothing about her circumstances, it's still sad to hear her struggling like that. It's not the life she wanted, and you wonder just what kind of life it is.

*Every few minutes a 1 train rolls to the 215th Street stop, headed south or to the Bronx. Our previous apartment overlooked Broadway so we did hear everything, from the cars below to the trains above. We're both used to them at this point and it actually seems stranger when there aren't any trains and we only hear the cars rolling by. Around midnight each night - but sometimes earlier like tonight - one of the trains comes through at about a mile an hour, slowly rumbling through the stop. Not sure if it's one of the garbage trains or what, because I don't think it's carrying any people. Visitors definitely notice that one, and in a few days, when my mom and dad are visiting, I'm anticipating there might be a few complaints as it awkwardly and loudly meanders through northern Manhattan.

*Three separate car alarms have gone off. I'm assuming no vehicles have been stolen or even been in any danger of being stolen. Anything can set them off. If the car's parked under the elevated tracks, a passing train can lead to the incessant blaring. If someone honks their horn, a nearby car might light up and start its sound show, to the annoyance of everyone on the block. It'll go for 30 seconds or so, sometimes longer. It's noise pollution, but there's nothing anyone can do to stop it. Maybe they could throw bricks at the car, but that would just start it all up again and the vicious cycle continues. The only good thing about the car alarms is that I don't have to visit hell because I already know what it sounds like there:


Brock said...

thats terrible... poor lady. In my house at around 1:30 am, had fire trucks trying to get to some house but could not find their way through our curvy street so they drove up and down the street with sirens going! waking up the hole block! and the poor people in the burning house had to keep burning! (not sure if it was actually on fire.)

Mike said...

Probably not a fire, just some idiot who forgot to change the batteries in their carbon monoxide detector.

Brock said...

so turns out it was a fire! some hippies threw away their hookah coal, which was still burning, into the trash and then went to bed. Burned half the house!