Noise: unwanted sound
I step out of the house anticipating relief outdoors after months of ultra-hot summer. But the patio is an amphitheater of noise for which I have little tolerance as I get older. Traffic, AC, pool pump, lawn care equipment, my brain. I can’t concentrate, and I feel the anxiety rise.
Clamor in our Chicago suburb was contained on large lots with plenty of vegetation. Excepting the occasional passing of aircraft from O’Hare forcing a pause in conversation, most sound was pleasant.
Although our previous house outside Phoenix shared lot lines with seven other suburban homes, loud noise was rare. Unpleasant sound, rarer still. The only annoying noise I recall was our neighbor’s music blasting while he worked in the yard on weekends. The cheers and band music from the high school football game on fall weekends reminded us that we lived in community. The underlying ostinato of highway traffic beckoned us to get out into the world. The occasional descant of fighter jets from Luke Air Force Base rewarded us with a view of jets in formation.
Our current home backs up to a street which passes a school and connects two major roads. The sound of normal traffic is punctuated by the obnoxious explosion of motorcycles or cars with modified mufflers. Our neighbor’s family, including four birth children and five adoptees, some with special needs, sound as if they are having fun most of the time and bring joy to a quiet afternoon. Luna the dog challenges any move across the wall.
When well-rested, I am only annoyed by such intrusions. Yesterday, however, as I prepared to write outside, my husband brought out his favorite toy, the leaf blower; traffic was heavy, and the normally merry children were not so merry.
I retreated to my room secured with double pane windows and a dove into a book.
A recent trip was continuing to exact its toll as I struggled with jet lag and fatigue, heightening my sensitivities. Now, a day later, as I sit outside, the traffic, not loud, is intrusive. Mike has started the lawn mower. Time to hide.