Friday, April 30, 2010

Street Noise

I live on a one-way street, made narrower by the fact that people park on both sides of it. So if a delivery truck, moving truck, or garbage truck needs to make a stop in front of one of the buildings, the drivers who get stuck behind it typically have to wait until the truck driver moves on. But of course, this being the city, people don't just sit patiently in their cars and wait for for the truck driver to finish his work. No. Despite the fact that my street has nothing but apartment buildings on it, the drivers who pass through apparently believe that no one lives in any of them because they lean on their horns for several minutes at a time.


Meanwhile, I'm sitting at my desk trying to do important work, like completing my projects for the website I work for, doing research for my graduate studies, grading papers, writing out questions for the final exam my students will be taking, revising my manuscripts, or watching Youtube videos that people make of their puppies. It's hard to work when all you hear is


And then

"Get out of the way! (insert ten expletives here) Let's go!" (More honking)

Finally, after about twenty minutes straight of honking, I can't take it anymore.

I throw open my window and yell, "SHUT UUUUUUUUUPPP!!!"

(Three-second silence.)


I start to yell out my window again, but someone from another building has beaten me to it. "HEY! Keep it down!"

Angry driver: "YOU KEEP IT DOWN! WHY DON'T YOU COME DOWN HERE AND (insert ten expletives here) TELL ME TO KEEP IT DOWN!!!"

Angry driver and angrier neighbor then proceed to yell at each other for several minutes, amidst the sounds of more honking. This happens several times a day, every day.


On a side note, the fact that I yell from my window on a regular basis is probably one of the reasons that the two women who live next door to me give me weird looks every time we pass each other in the hall.


  1. I hate people who beep over and over. Or even worse, just lean on the horn. It's quieted on my street in recent years.

    There's some area in Manhattan that's terrible with honking. One guy got fed up and threw eggs out his window. Worried that the owner of the egged vehicle would kill him, he decided he had to get ahold of his anger. He started some poetry about noise that people post around the neighborhood. I don't know if they still do it. Nothing is better than writing out our frustrations!

  2. Hi Theresa,
    Throwing eggs out the window, eeps! I'm a really bad pitcher and am afraid I might accidentally drop the eggs on joggers or parents passing by with strollers. Or worse, the eggs might hit a passing cop car and then I'd get arrested. Besides, I don't have any eggs. Maybe I could throw M&Ms instead.

  3. Oh, I feel your pain. I live on a busy street with constant buses, delivery vans for the antique shops, flower shops, on and on and on... there is always traffic and beeping!

  4. Hi Talli,
    Although the beeping does irritate me, I'm thinking it's not just because of the fact that it distracts me from my work. I'm thinking it might also be misplaced envy because I don't have my own car to bug other people with.

  5. Oh how this post has brought back so many memories of living in the city. I miss the city. Out here in BFE there are no beeping horns, cursing angry drivers sitting in traffic, or anything of the noise I'm so used to. It's a bit too quiet here and makes it hard to work sometimes. Oh how I miss the city.

  6. Hi Noelle,
    I grew up in a small town, so I miss the quiet atmosphere. But I know what you mean about missing the city; as much as I complain about Chicago, I'm sure I'd miss it if I lived somewhere else.

  7. Ya know, leaving in NYC, I've learned to tune a lot of that out. That doesn't mean I like it, but I have learned how to turn it into white noise.

    Really really really loud white noise.

  8. Hi Rebecca,
    I'm totally jealous you get to live in NYC; I've heard it's a lot different from Chicago, though I do like this city, despite the noise.
    I'm learned to tune some of it out, but unfortunately my tolerance level isn't very high. Guess I should work on that.

  9. As soon as I saw the title of your blog I knew it was gonna be a good 1!

    I was right!

    It's a pet peeve of mine that people can be so inconsiderate. Unless you're actually blowing your horn at a driver directly in front of you, it doesn't work. The guilty party will either feign deafness or they simply don't care. Or a combo.

    As Rebecca commented, tuning it out is the best option. :)

  10. Hi, notesfromnadir,
    Aw, thanks for the compliment! :)

    I tried tuning it out with earplugs, but they kept falling out. I have this slightly irrational fear that if I push the earplugs in too far they'll get stuck and then it'll be that much harder to listen to Britney Spears' songs once I'm done working.

  11. I may be way behind here, I live 10 floors above traffic and can hear traffic when windows are open, but on one hand its nice to know your not in the world alone, and then again there are times you wish people ( as well as cars) Would. Just. Shut. Up. Ya know. I love my ear buds and music. When I'm doing homework I listen to classical chello,. When I'm actually writing for fun, its country pop or rock- not this new stuff the old rock that reaches your soul ya know.. ( yes I often say Ya know). Eventually things work out somehow.