Sonic Rain Pouring: The Anxiety of City Living

This morning, my little June and I were as cozy as bugs in rugs, curled up in a down-insulated dreamland, when both she and I were forced awake by a barking pattern so constant and monotonous there was no avoiding it. For 60 minutes, sweet sleep was wrested from our grasp as my landlord’s very cute and adorably lovely dog barked. This is a normal activity and not at all remarkable, really, except that it turned my beautiful 8-hour sleep night into a 5-hour sleep night because there’s no recovering from that. Even my patient little June seemed annoyed at her comrade’s ruckus, breathing deep sighs of what I interpreted as annoyance.

But it’s not just this instance that makes this a sonic rain pouring. It’s piled on top of the fact that yesterday I set off not one but two, fire alarms in my apartment cooking with high heat on the stove. The fact that both alarms are within 10 feet of the stove, one of them almost directly on top of it, never ceases to amaze. June cowered, shaking, on the bed, probably because her ears felt like they were imploding.

But even those two together don’t make for a breaking of the camel’s back like the City of Chicago Water Department, showing up unannounced right outside my door while I was gone, blocking my street, and idling there for what could be 9 HOURS this afternoon and evening. Let’s not even discuss the noise that the back hoe is making clawing into the pavement and the inevitable forever scar that will live there, possibly as the world’s largest pothole, into the indefinite future.

I’ve lived in the city now for almost twenty years. The sheen wore away many years ago but I’ll admit that the one thing that buckles me like nothing else is the unbelievable, uncontrollable noise. People. are. fucking. loud. This city is a persistent cacophony that just wears you down. I have very little fight left in me except the daydream of aggressively going outside and just screaming in the middle of the street to no one in particular.

I know I’m growing increasingly irritable about this point. Honestly, I’m sure many factors contribute to this including the fact that since moving to my current apartment (which is wholly wonderful, by the way), I’ve become very accustomed to a much quieter life. Maybe it’s that very thing that makes disruptions to that quieter norm all the more outrageous. And for me, this becomes just pure, unadulterated stress. I feel my blood pressure go up immediately; I can feel the toll it takes on my body. I literally never relax. There’s always a siren somewhere, alerting me to someone else’s danger. Thanks.

I think it also proves in a subtle way that there’s nowhere in Chicago to outrun the city, even in the most bedroom of bedroom neighborhoods. This is the city. It’s one of the largest ones in the country. There’s bound to be noise.

But good goddamn, does it have to happen all on the same sleep-starved day?

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