This is the noisiest city I know. I've been to London, Hong Kong, Paris, Jerusalem, LA, Istanbul - lots of cities. And even in the ones where the Islamic Call to Prayer horn goes off in the middle of the night it's not as noisy as New York City.
Now, it doesn't help that "N...Y...C... Just got here this morning" won't stop running through my head. "Three bucks! Two bags! One meeeee!" Ugh. So many "Me"s here in New York.
That may explain why there is constant, constant noise.
I admit, I am one of those people who prefers intentional noise. When I'm at my parents house, I'm constantly walking through rooms and turning off TVs no one is watching. "What'd ya do that for?" I get when three minutes later someone walks into the same room and turns it back on. I only put on a record (or my iPod) or a movie when I need motivation to clean house, or finish my 900th scrapbook. And that's usually only about once a month or so. I didn't like noise when I studied during my school years, and I don't like noise when I work now. "Seriously?" I walk into our company president's office. "I can hear this song all the way across our building. Your music is too loud if it is crossing 6000 square feet."
Thankfully the President is my Person, so he just rolls his eyes and turns it down.
My point: it is simply unnecessary to be that loud.
I feel the same way about Paul Ryan. Just. Stop. Being. So. Loud.
And dumb. Stop being dumb.
But I'm digressing.
The apartment I'm staying at here in the big apple is on the 31st floor. I know, right? And it has a great balcony. But can I open the sliding glass door and let the cool New York breeze blow in to remind me I'm not suffocating in Austin this evening? No, I cannot. Why? Because the noise outside at 9:27pm might wake the baby.
Seriously? I can't open the window because I might wake the baby? And it's not like this stops. When I'm standing on the balcony during the daytime, I can't even hear my text message ding when my phone is sitting right next to me.
It's so loud here!
Listen to me New York (if you can hear me over the noise). You need to take it down a notch. I know you have Broadway (believe me, I'm fully aware). I know you have Sex and the City - God bless that show. And I know you have the Yankees, the Mets, the Giants and the Jets (no I don't know what actual sports these teams represent). But come on! Chill out. I don't need to hear your honking horn 31 stories up. Nor do I need to hear about who's being an asshole. TMI. And for the love of God, put down the microphone; you're not Patti LuPone. (Unfortunately, neither am I).
I mean, was New York built on a giant metal shell and no one noticed? I am not a country girl accustomed to only cow lowing, nor did I just gain use of my ears and am thus overwhelmed by sound waves. So why am I so annoyed by the noise? Because it's excessive. Why is there a constant hum in this city? Not all of you use air-conditioning units, so I know it's not that. Is there perma-construction at all hours of the night and on every street? Has the NSA put invisible, but not indiscreet drones outside our bedroom windows to keep tabs on our every conversation? Why can I hear every time a bus uses its air brakes? Every time a truck runs over a pothole?
They say everything is bigger in Texas. They are wrong. The noise in New York is bigger. Much. Much. Bigger.
Maybe Texas is quieter because we have all those wide open spaces. Our noise doesn't carry as far. Ugh. That makes no sense. Neither does it make sense that the buildings in this city seem to amplify sound instead of deaden it. Where's my high school physics teacher when I need him? Probably cleaning out his ears because he played in a band for 50 years and now has damaged hearing.
Gah. Am I like 90 years old now? I sound like my grandma. And not in any of the ways I want to sound like my grandma because she is, admittedly, fantastic.
There it is again: sound. Sound. I Sound. I can't escape the noise. Noise. Noise. Even when I write.
And maybe that's my problem. The noise is inescapable. And I like to escape. Believe me, I'm really good at it. I had my imagination when I was little... church in high school... alcohol in grad school... I even escaped into a career that I eventually had to escape. Escapology is my thing. In fact, Houdini should have my number (if he ever figures out how to escape death - keep holding those séances y'all!). If they gave out awards for best escape artists, I would have one. Bottom line is: I have always been able to escape the noise in my head and the confusion in my heart by throwing myself into something else.
But there's no escaping the noise of New York City.
Not even with my hot pink, extra soft Women's Earplugs. I should know. I bought some at the corner pharmacy last night.
So New York, here's the deal. I will try really, really hard to learn to live and not just to survive. I will learn to seek the moment, not the escape. But in return, I need you to channel your inner yogi and be quiet for a few minutes. Stop honking, yelling, buzzing, humming, clinking, banging, smashing, slamming and zooming. Stop shooting Botox at your face and insults at your neighbor. Stop the 24-hour construction and stop the 24-7 deliveries. Just be quiet.
And for the love of the theatre, let silence take the stage for once.