notquiteold

Nancy Roman

The Sounds Of Silence

Once in a while I read about someone who is accused of some crime, and as a result is under house arrest.

My first reaction is:

“Sweet!”

I love staying home. As I write this, it is Saturday afternoon, and I could go out and do a dozen nice things. But I am sitting in my den (which my husband calls The Room With The TV) alternating between my computer and my book and my snack – and really, who could ask for more?

But once in a while we all must leave the house.

And this week my husband and I made our annual pilgrimage to New York City.

I actually like New York. I like it in the summer. But we always seem to go in March. It is not a pleasant time to walk around New York. This year was particularly bad. Bitter cold and snowy – with slippery sidewalks and slushy curbs and everyone else hogging all the cabs.

Well, to say we hardly ever leave our home is an understatement. It is not exactly a big trip to go from Connecticut to New York. But I go so seldom, that as soon as we crossed the state border, Gmail and Twitter immediately shut me off with messages that some evildoer was trying to access my account.

This couldn’t possibly be you, the internet declared, because this usage was detected 59 MILES from your HOME! 

But it was really us. We arrived at Grand Central Terminal, which is my favorite building in the whole world. Not that I have seen very many buildings in the whole world. But I think even world travelers must think that Grand Central is pretty special. It is so nice we can eat and shop there and we never really have to go out to the actual slushy messy street. And the ceiling has a constellation too, so you are almost outside anyway.

grandcentral

We were totally exhausted after such a long trip… 59 miles to the train station after all, and then that long one hour and twenty-five minutes train ride… I mean, who wouldn’t be exhausted from that kind of crazy travel? So we ate at Grand Central, shopped a bit (at Grand Central) and then checked into the hotel.

We prepared for a wonderful restful night – a true recuperation from our grueling wearying trip.

Only THE NOISE!!!

We have owls at home. We can hear them sometimes calling, “Whooo?  Whoo?” in their mournful tones.

But what is with the honking cabs?  They aren’t calling “Whooo? Whoo?”

NO!

They are yelling:

 “WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?!”

All frigging night!

There is no end to the honking, beeping, tooting. Fast, slow, high-pitched, wailing, bellowing.

All for no reason I can fathom. The streets are wide, flat, straight. What are all those cabs screaming about? Will the other cab drivers create an extra lane for you if you scream loud enough?

My town is quiet. My town is civilized. My town is polite. Why just two weeks ago, I had an actual occasion that warranted that I beep my horn as warning. Only it had been so long since I had last honked, that I couldn’t remember where the damn horn was located. By the time I found it, the threat had passed.

My husband and I did not sleep at all. It was like Grand Central Station at the hotel.

Actually it was Grand Central Station.

We stayed at the Hyatt, right there at the terminal.

Thank God I am home.

night sky

 

By the way:  This week, Amazon is offering the Kindle version of my novel, “Just What I Always Wanted” for only 99 cents. You too can stay in your nice quiet home and read. You’ll thank me. 

44 Comments

  1. Ray G

    So, what floor were you spending the night at? Generally, the higher the floor the more expense, and the less noise. And, the constellations at GCT are reversed (backwards).

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    • We were way up on Fifteen… a “deluxe” room, which meant it had a tiny sofa in a spot that was fairly useless. The honking was still crazy loud.

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  2. In 2007, we swapped sirens and supermarket delivery lorries in the early hours for HGVs in the early hours, aeroplanes at all hours and boom boxes in cars driven by pimply youths. In 2014, those were swapped for ducks, geese, and the gentle sound of lapping water.

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    • Isn’t quiet wonderful? I will never live in a noisy place again.

      Liked by 1 person

      • We love the peace and tranquility. We hadn’t anticipated the noise we’d experience in the property 2007-2014, yet it was a quiet village, with no shops, pub, church or Post Office, it was just the RAF base up the road and being on the only HGV route between towns that did it!

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        • When I was a little kid, we lived near the city’s largest factory. When we moved to the suburbs, none of us could sleep… we had lived all our lives with the background factory din. We thought the CRICKETS were crazy. We had never heard them before.

          Liked by 1 person

          • It’s surprising what you get used to and thus ‘tune out’.

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  3. Ah! Grand Central Station. One of the great rooms of the world.

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    • Years ago, I had a job that required a lot of trips to New York. No matter how stressed and pressed for time I was, I always stopped in the center of Grand Central, and just spent a few moments taking it in.

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  4. I’ve lived such a quiet live for the past xxxx years, I wouldn’t be able to sleep either. You still managed to have a good time though, right? Oh my. I just thought about the last time I was in New York. A scary 50 years ago and recall going out for steak at 3:00 a.m. Those were the days. Now, I prefer my sleep. You too?

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  5. I get you on not venturing too far from home. Especially New York. There is just too much New York in New York. But like you, I love that station. I spent most of the saturdays of my adolescence going through that building. It is beautiful.

    I live in the middle of nowhere, with wild animals all around us. We have screech owls — in the middle of the night they scrreeech in a loud and terrifying manner. The first time I ever heard it, I made my husband go outside to rescue an imaginary woman I was certain was being murdered. Think Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween. Sleep tight!

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    • Oh, my, you have scary owls. Ours are more like gentle sentries asking who goes there… once in a while we have coyotes, but even their howl is pretty serene.

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      • We have regular owls, too. but these screech owls are horrible. Their cries are truly blood-curdling.

        I just read today that there are parts of NYC where there are resident coyotes! We had a lot of them in Simsbury CT, and at first I was shocked.

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        • When did you live in Simsbury? I am in Litchfield!

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          • I lived there from 1989-95, then we moved back to NoVA. But I grew up in Westport and lived there until 1976. I love CT. It will always be home!

            Litchfield is lovely. One of my favorite towns.

            Liked by 1 person

  6. Although I have never seen it I love Grand Central too. I grew up in Adelaide, South Australia. In the 1930s there was an American Commissioner of Railways called Webb and he had a brand new station built for the city. It was like a baby version of Grand Central. They have modernised it and in my opinion spoiled it a lot now but I can still see the similarities. It’s great architecture. I live in the country now and certainly notice the noise when I venture to the city for a holiday but it doesn’t stop me sleeping.

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    • I googled the Aidelaide train station. I definitely see the relationship to Grand Central. And it looks lovely.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. There are few sounds like a deer screaming in the night. This high pitch crazy screech, would love to trade for your owls. They just need come to Maryland.

    Grand Central is a wonderful lace to catch music. The acoustics are incredible.

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    • There was a guy on the lower level – singing Marvin Gaye. He resonated through the halls.

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  8. Have never been to NYC… the station sounds like the train station in Yokohama, Japan, shopping, eating and transportation all in one place…

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    • There’s something awesome about the place,.. and yet at it’s core – completely functional.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh my goodness! So funny. Visiting NY is on my to-do list. I must bring ear-plugs! ~Elle

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  10. Funny post! I have a friend who can’t sleep at my house because she says, “it’s too quiet.”

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    • My sister in London said this when she came to visit last year. Far too quiet.

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    • At home, if we hear one car, we say, “What’s that?”

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  11. Hi Nancy I think it’s about 30 years since I was last in NY City. Oh so young and so long ago. Don’ envy anybody the noise. BTW Amazon says this title isn’t available for purchase so I guess there’s a hiccup.

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    • Hmmm…. link works for me and I’ve seen quite a few sales… are you in the US?

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      • Just checked your blog, I see you are in New Zealand! I’d love to go there some day! But that’s probably why the link doesn’t work for you. I think the book is available in Australia, but not sure about NZ.

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  12. GCS is one of my all time favorite buildings to stand in – look up and around – and drink it in. But you’re right – the noise, the commotion, the people! I love it … for a while. Then I have to get out again 🙂
    MJ

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    • Interestingly, the “preview” that wordpress showed me on your comment reads: “GCS is one of my all time favorite buildings to stand in – look up and around – and drink.” Yes, you can certainly drink in GCS. We did.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I love NYC! Will be there later this month. I’ve spent a fair amount of time there, I guess I’m a little used to the noise. Although I will never understand why cab drivers think that honking, honking, honking will get them through traffic any faster…that is probably the worst noise in the city. Love your photo of GCT. thanks!

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    • i have to confess – not my photo. I have some okay photos… but I can never seem to capture the glory that I am feeling.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Like you, I’ve become Super-Glued to my home office (and my bed in the next room). If it weren’t for my job that requires my presence in Manhattan twice a week, my body would atrophy. When I’m in the city, I work on the 10th floor of a building, and it’s the constant sirens that interrupt our meetings, not the cabbies. But, it wouldn’t be New York City without the noise.

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    • There were lots of sirens too, but at least I understand them. I don’t get the point of all that honking.

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  15. I think when one lives in a big city, they just become accustomed to all of the noise that surrounds them. When I visited New York, I took ear plugs with me as I anticipated sleeping could be problematic. A great city to visit but you couldn’t pay me to live there!

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    • I definitely should have brought ear plugs. I used to go to the city all the time and the noise didn’t bother me too much. I guess I really am getting old.

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  16. I think I am unusual. I am happiest when I am away from home. I love the inspiration of new places. I have always said I am happiest when staying in hotels or at other people’s beach houses or ski chalets. I also love those little bottles of shampoo.

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    • I do like the little shampoos and hand lotions. But I like being home more.

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  17. I also live in Connecticut and tell myself I’d love living in NYC, but know the reality. The noise, the crowds, the constant “on alert” mode would wear me down. I’m also a homebody and a country girl. Even after a visit to the Big Apple, I’m happy to come home.

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  18. I love travel, love cities, love city noises. I know, maybe someday I will reach my limit. That day isn’t this day though. I hate travel for work these days, hate being forced to do it week after week, but still love to travel to new places. Grand Central, yes it is a fabulous building.

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