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Noise


Here in the city the noise is continuous. Yesterday there was a man shouting curses in the street who went on for several minutes. It felt like an eternity, wanting to go out and tell him to shut up, have some respect, but knowing that would only the an invitation to have the abuse directed at me. Last thing you want is the attention of an irate fucked up homeless person. Or for him to know where you live. The homeless people rule, that is what he was demonstrating. And then there are the street sweepers. Only occasionally do they come through, but then they are in the neighborhood daily or nightly several days in a row, sounding like a tsunami that comes and goes and comes again, like the end of the world. Across the street there is the motorcycle shop, with the revving of motors, the regular random fireworks for fun, and the occasional party with terrible music. The sewer repair guys are gone, but for a couple weeks there we had jack hammers and routering going on. The sound bounced into my window from the concrete back wall of the soccer gym. Then of course there are the sounds of evening soccer games complete with more bad music, shouting, and balls violently hitting chain link. There are the trucks rumbling down 17th Ave, hitting the bump at my cross street. I usually don't hear them but when I do I am reminded of Suzanne. And the busses. There just went one. There are two bus lines that go by .5 blocks from here and they have a distinctive throaty rushing sound. There is the heavy walking fat chick downstairs. And there is my housemate, with her nonstop stresses. Currently she is listening to a recorded self help book while working. And I hear the train. It is idling right now. I don't mind the train sounds, they are homey to me. The whistle I like. It reminds me of the eerie floating echo of the horn in the Nolichucky gorge. The fast passenger trains make little noise. The freight trains sit and whine there for hours sometimes, waiting for their load or their green light. There is a freight yard just a few blocks south from here, and the engines sit even with my cross street. There it goes, it is firing up. The engines move carefully.

I think that the cumulative burden of the noise for me is manifested as increased stress. More continuous low level stress, and more unpleasant surprises too. They've studied people who live out in the country who have wind farms built within earshot. They get more cancer. I don't think it's because of the EMFs. One of my patients spoke of his pain as noise. It was simply something that wouldn't go away, was always present. Sometimes something else would make enough noise that his attention would be diverted, as from a ringing in the ears.

The quiet of northern Idaho is one of the appeals of that choice.

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