Wednesday, July 8, 2009

City Ruminations

Since I've been spending a lot more time recently at our apartment in the Big City (population around half a million), I've noticed something. Noise. I don't know if it is the farm boy in me that is used to a silence that makes even a small town person weep with anxiety or if it is the current small town side of me but noise is ever present in the Big City.

For instance, whenever we are out and about driving down the road with our windows up and air conditioner on full blast, we are constantly assaulted by the booming base of passing a donk and even those too poor to make their vehicle into a donk but rich enough to afford some custom audio equipment. The only custom stereo that I have bought and put in a car replaced the eight-track stereo in the car and then only when it quit working. I also bought speakers for the very same car but only after the standard issue speakers quit working and those were some little jobbies that slipped underneath the front seats. All my other vehicles have had very satisfactory sounds systems in them and could be heard without disturbing those in cars three vehicles ahead of me at a stop light. One car that we sat by at a stoplight was so old and the base so overwhelming that all I could marvel at was the undertone of rattles from the various pieces of cars. The boom of the base was followed by a metallic vibration of all the other parts of the car. I wondered how many bolts were falling out from vibrations never imagined by engineers.

My most recent stay in the Big City for four days happened to coincide with the 80/35 music festival with one of the venues being just five scant blocks away. So for about twelve hours of the day, our line of sight apartment was assaulted by various artists late into the night. So although the temperatures were unseasonably cool, we spent the who weekend running the air conditioner just because the fan on it would make a Harley owner weep with envy. At least it was a steady noise with no beat.

Perhaps most disturbing to me is just the complete lack of silence. I can't shut off the air conditioner in the apartment even with no music festival going on and hear absolute silence. I definitely can't be anywhere outside and here silence. There is always noise, so much that I'm guessing those that haven't experienced different, don't even realize it. To them it is probably like a white noise. To me it is just noise.

Despite the noise, I am enjoying this experience and the chance it is giving me to explore the Big City in small chunks of time. Mostly it has been culinary experiences so far but as we grow more comfortable and have less settling in to do, I'm sure we will be exploring other aspects as well.


Murf said...

That's funny because I noticed quite the opposite early this morning when I awoke for some strange reason at about 3 a.m. and heard...nothing. Nothing cricketing, no breeze, no emergency vehicles, no idiot with the last few firecrackers. The windows were open too. Very strange to hear nothing. I don't like it. I like to hear something.

Beau said...

Sometimes it's like Murf said... just nothing. That is eerie. But one does become used to the peace and quite of life in the country. Heading back to the city is like an assault on the senses at first. I like the culinary angle for exploration!

R. Sherman said...

I can only stand St. Louis in small doses for that reason. It's too loud!

And too crowded.


PhilippinesPhil said...

I"m with you. I love peace and quiet, nature noises only. Give me birds chirping and the breeze rustling the leaves in the trees. Jerks with the kinds of car sound "systems" you describe WANT to blast their crappy music at you (and me) because they delight in how angry it makes us. Like I always say. People suck. I hate them. Where's my RPG?

Edelweiss Transplanted said...

It's the density in cities that seems unnatural to me. Small noises really add up when you have hundreds of people in a limited area.