The quiet in this house

Monday, February 26, 2007

When people came to look at my old apartment they would ask about the noise: Did it bother me? And I could genuinely say that, it did not. This was true even though traffic on the West Side Highway rumbled by only yards from my window; even though a cross-town bus growled past regularly (though never when you wanted it to); and even though there were gaggles of gay teenage boys making a rucous throughout the night. In fact, when I had moved into the apartment I was relieved by the quiet there.

Noise is a relative experience. When I last moved, I was relocating from the corner of 125th Street and Broadway to the Far West Vilalge. I lived on the second floor with my bedroom windows directly above a 24-hour drive-thru McDonald’s (and yes, it often smelled like french fries). The 1 train emerges from underground and travels above ground on a trestle less than a block from my former window. 125th Street itself is a full orchestra of noise: traffic, people and the three other fast food chains at that very intersection all converging to a constant roar. And yet I slept easily after the first few nights (even with my windows open), and eventually I didn’t even hear the train as it rattled by. Tenth Street and Weehawken Street seemed like a tranquil haven when I arrived. However, my parents who live in the hush of suburbia were acutely aware of the dim from outside my West Village windows. When my mother stayed the night once, I think she barely slept at all.

So, you see noise really is relative to what you are accustomed to. I find my new home deliciously quiet. It is not as silent as my boyfriend’s 4th floor walk-up that faces a practically mute garden. It is not as still as the room I sleep in when I visit my family. But it is so blissfully quiet compared to what I have grown used to tolerating. Last night the snow was falling and the streetlight illuminated the flakes as they came drifting down. I sat and watched from my window for a moment. It was late, and because of the snow, there were probably far fewer passing cars and pedestrians than usual. I was shocked by the soundlessness. The clack of my radiator and the drip of my leaky faucet were the only disruptions to the stillness. So, I shut the doors to my bathroom and my bedroom, turned down the heat, and lay in my bed, enjoying this nearly silent night in Brooklyn.



the little house in the city © All rights reserved · Theme by Blog Milk · Blogger