Yesterday I overslept and missed my van pool departure which happens occasionally. The obvious drawback is the expense of gas but the bonus is sleeping in a little later and leaving work a little earlier. It turned out the expense of gas was just a fraction of the cost I was in for yesterday. If I'm driving my truck I always stop at the Flying J to gas up because it's cheaper than Louisville gas. The Flying J is primarily a truck stop with outlets across the United States. This place is loud all the time with alot of semis idling, leaving, and departing. Yesterday it was ear splitting. Besides the semi noise, there were two guys pressure washing the concrete around the retail store, each with his own compessor going at full speed, pressurizing the water coming out of their hoses. It was so loud that my tinnitus kicked in. So combined with the external noise there was the extremely irritating noise of screeching and roaring only I could hear.
I'm through at the pump and jump in my truck, eager to get away from all this racket. I turn the key and nothing happens, I turn it a second time and my truck alarm system starts yelping and there doesn't seem any way I can turn it off (and you know how loud those suckers are.) My alarm has three distinct "movements" and they keep repeating OVER and OVER and OVER again. I have to practically STAND on my key fob to make it stop. I make a guess it's the starter that's failed as all I can hear are clicking sounds when I turn the key. In the blink of an eye my truck has become nothing but a clicking lump of metal, glass, plastic, and rubber.
Inside the retail store I ask for a phone book and look up a twenty-four hour tow place out of Bagdad, KY. While they're sending a guy out I withdrawal money from an ATM machine and call Charlene to tell her what's happening. We have trouble hearing each other. "What's all that noise?" "What?" "What's all that noise?" "What?" The tow guy comes and we have to yell at each other to communicate. There are noisy hydraulic noises, the tow truck idling, two pressure washer engines revving, and the semis roaring. Lord help me get the hell out of here. I scramble into the the passenger seat of the tow truck and off we go to a Goodyear place in Shelbyville. I am way wrong thinking I'm finally in store for a more "normal" noise level. This tow truck isn't really a tow truck but a huge flat bed tractor trailer. The muffler sounds like it's about to fall off, there's no AC, and the windows are down. My phone rings three times before I hear it.
"Take it to Doug's t re c nter, Br ce d es bus nes w him. what's that noise?"
"WHAT? YOU'LL HAVE TO SPEAK UP HON."
"TAKE IT TO DOUG'S TIRE CENTER...IT'S BEHIND MAKING ENDS MEET IN SHELBYVILLE, BRUCE DOES BUSINESS WITH HIM. WHAT THE HELL IS THAT NOISE?"
"OK, I'LL CALL YOU BACK!"
The tow truck guy knows where Doug's Tire Center is and we're almost there. We turn right off Washington street at Making Ends Meet. Doug's is at the end of the street, next to the rail road tracks. We pull into Doug's lot and over by the rail road tracks they're doing some kind of construction and there are TWO PNEUMATIC JACKHAMMERS, each hooked up to their own air compressor which are revving like crazy. Add to this mix are other construction noises; earth movers, tractors, and a cement mixers. I feel like walking over and saying "IT'S ALMOST SEVEN O'CLOCK, WHY DON'T YOU'ALL KNOCK OFF AND GO HOME FOR CHRISSAKES!" My phone rings and I answer.
"I'm alm st th re."
"WHAT? YOU'LL HAVE TO SPEAK UP HON."
"I'M ALMOST THERE...... WHAT THE HELL IS THAT NOISE?"
"IT'S CONTRUCTION NEAR HERE...PLEASE HURRY"
Just when I think the noise can become no more unbearable I hear
DING DING DING DING...... I think 'please don't blow that hor...........' HHHOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNK HONK HONK
The I hear the extremely loud roar of the deisel train engine like it must be pulling one thousand large circus elephants. I close my eyes and put a finger in each ear. At last Charlene pulls into Doug's parking lot. "Let's go to Bruce and Ruth's, I need a drink."
We're sitting at Ruth and Bruce's table on their outside porch eating tomatoes, cottage cheese, and a vegetable casserole that Ruth fixed for us. except for the the birds singing and occasional far off sound of a car, the silence is truly golden.
Noise pollution has become a relatively new term that you hear or read about occasionally. I used to think 'what a bunch of wusses' I have to fess up...I'm a wuss when it comes to the general noisy-ness of every day life anymore and it seems like it's getting worse with time. The day's toll was seventy bucks for the tow. (I may recoup all or part of that from my insurance company.) A new battery, four new tires, (they were almost bald and I've been delaying the inevitable) and an oil change (what the hell) all for 600 some odd dollars AND SOME POSSIBLE HEARING LOSS.