i wear earplugs to get sleep in the city that never says goodnight to loud sounds outside my window. an argument at the bus stop, the bus stopping, sighing and broadcasting the next stop. the theme song of dexter vibrating the wall--an omen. the cat pawing the door, then(more) whining wet food wet food. i sleep early and often, but i need earplugs to block out the city. it is not that it is so loud at night, i just don't know what to expect, and with ear plugs i have control over what i hear. the earplugs i keep in their plastic bowl at my bedside. my roommate tells me that the problem is not the city, but that my ears are still in portland and i am here, blocking out new york.
maybe he's right. maybe i left other parts of myself behind, too. the hands i use for writing, for churning soil, for driving. those hands i didn't need so i traded them in for hands that could type lesson plans, hands that could teach and ride my bicycle through cold cold traffic, hands that could open beers at the end of the longest days, when a student punched another student in the middle of class. or when i got observed and took home the rating 'ineffective'. i am not going soft though. these hands i climb walls with in new york, but the callouses are different than if i were digging ditches, building trail, gesturing in the company of family, chosen family.
i don't need to adjust to this notsonew city; i need to go home and retrieve myself, and decide whether its worth the trade off, whether i want to live in a city that is too loud for me, too gritty, too awake. (less)
Every year my wife and I make the effort to fly across the continent to the town that we grew up in. We take leave of the hustle and bustle of the big city for the relative calm of the not-so-big city. Our families are there, living in a suburban paradise(more) that stands in stark contrast to the apartment-state in which we live. The visits are a mix of comfort, longing-to-leave, longing-to-stay, conversation, awkwardness, food, materialism and movie watching.
Typically, upon arrival we will pour ourselves a drink and retire to the backyard patio next to the the small kidney-shaped pool; often the first moment of respite after a long period of travel. Our last visit was proceeding in this manner, when through the stillness I could hear a chorus of crickets rising into the night sky, sounding at first like the laugh tracks from television sitcoms. I realized I hadn't heard crickets for years, their nighttime songs having long been replaced by the sound of sirens and drunken revelry. The insects voices grew louder and filled the air with a static charge that made my hair stand on end. They were calling out to me, asking me to stay. I resisted as long as I was able, until I too was just one among many, hopping through the tall wet grass.
What's the sound that a cricket makes? It's not exactly a chirp. One wouldn't go "chirp... chirp.... chirp..." to fill an awkward silence. I personally go "cricket... cricket... cricket..." and then people chuckle, and the awkward moment passes. Ta-daa! However I'm still not sure what the actual noise really(more) is...(less)