Monday, June 18, 2012

No Jake Brake

One of my biggest complaints about where I live is the noise. To glance at my neighborhood, it seems quite nice, but really, my neighbors are loud, boorish, inconsiderate jerks. Also, there's a high school up the road and I am so glad that school is out and that will stop the stream of foul-mouthed teens walking past my window. Granted, I swear, and I swear a lot, but to punctuate. They turn the words into filth and useless filler because they have no other vocabulary to use. I enjoy the silence and the sound of nature. It keeps me calm and happy.

Not too far from my house are two unique features. One is the Interstate with an exit and and on-ramp and a truck stop (with a 24-hour Subway, score!) so it is understandably a high-traffic area. The other is a set of train tracks. The sounds generated from these two places don't bother me at all.

Even though the Interstate and the truck stop are relatively close, the hum of tires on pavement and the low growl of the jake brake come to me as if from a far distance. Same with the train whistle. I've always loved the sound of the train; at camp, I can hear it as far as 30 miles away in Jackman.

I feel like I'm being let in on a secret by these traveling sounds, not that they're telling me where they've been but when. Interstate commerce by train seems ancient, the rumbling of the cars over the tracks hurtling out of history, and then the whistle. Do you know when I've been?

The trucks.... the trucks really appeal more to my base desire to flee. The open road, no connections. I guess I'd never realized just how base sentiment for big rigs was until just now when I wrote that. Huh.

A phrase keeps popping into my head. Nostalgia for Americana. Maybe these things do represent Americana. Maybe I crave that Americana that only exists in tiny towns that are far off the beaten path, where the diners serve real food and people look at strangers with the stink eye. I would like to go across country, avoid the cities and stay in the smaller areas. I won't be hitching a ride on a  truck or fighting a hobo for train car space though-- that I have no fanciful illusions of!

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