Tuesday, September 27
Noise Pollution Reality Check
Yesterday the little man and I took a drive. Gas prices aside, we needed to get out of the house. I have spent the last couple of weeks lacking a husband in that he is out of town for business and I will do just about anything for a break in the daily routine right about now. Even "waste" a little gas.
We decided to go get a pumpkin for the front porch. Since NONE of my pumpkin vines grew this year we are very much lacking in porch fall decor, and he wanted him "orange pun-kin." The closest places were just too expensive. I mean, I know it was a horrible season, but how can people justify charging upwards of $8 for a pumpkin that is only slightly larger than a basketball and that sits off-center?
I remembered that where Roy and I used to live, there was this little old man who sold pumpkins and gourds at his stand in front of his house, and his prices were always excellent. And, it is pretty much a drive across the county that takes about 45 minutes so it fit with "killing the day."
Going back to the "old neighborhood" was a total wake-up call for me. Last month I posted about how the noise around our place was bothering me and I received a nice comment from a reader that made a lot of sense. She said, in part, "At first it was dead quiet and dark, you could see the stars go on forever, but as you get used to real quiet, not the roar of the six lane highway less than a quarter mile from your house, you start hearing more and more, the noise that had once blended into the background."
We drove by our old house - a nice house - in a bad area. I told the little man "this is where Mommy and Daddy used to live" and I thought "thank goodness we do not live there anymore and that we do not have to raise you in such an environment." I parked the car int he parking lot of the bar, right across the street from our old house and put the windows down. Then i listened.
Constant car and truck traffic. Planes overhead from the very-near by airport. People yelling. Dogs barking (not in a "happy to see you" way). Squealing tires and air brakes of tractor trailer trucks. Dump trucks. Garbage trucks. And not just here and there. This was all going on at the same time. And, they had expanded the road to 4 lanes over the bridge which lead to even more traffic.
A constant visual and audio barrage of intrusive and stressful commotion. I can not believe that I actually lived here for almost 7 years. I must have gotten used to it, like me reader said. I remember i was always, always, always on guard when i lived there. Constantly having to watch the house, property and the dogs. Too many people causing too much trouble. This is not a way to live.
After that, we drove to where the pumpkin guy used to be and he was no longer there. I was not totally surprised in that he was very old when we used to get our pumpkins from him. We then drove east, back towards our house, and I can honestly say that I have never been happier to get away from somewhere. I don;t think I am going to go back and check out the old house again.
We stopped at a farm closer to our house and i was surprised that we were able to get two nice, smaller pumpkins for our front porch for $3.99 each.
Arriving at home, I unloaded the pumpkins and the little man and sat on the front porch, listening.
Yes, there were sounds of people up the road mowing the lawn and a dog barking here and there and a car going by, but nothing like the old place. Again, like my reader said, I again had gotten used to the "real quiet" in the almost 7 years we have been at this house - so much so that I can actually be bothered by the occasional intrusion. I still feel off-balance when the Harley blares past my house or from the banging of the garbage man being not-too-gentle with the recycle bins, but i can take it.
I needed this reality check - not only from my reader but from putting myself back into what I used to deal with. I had forgotten how bad it used to be, and I now more fully realize how good we have it here.