Monday, February 25, 2008

click clack click clack

We live on a main road. We hear everything going past. Cars, trucks, emergency vehicles. It's pretty bad, as our bedroom window faces the street and overnight sometimes the traffic is so bad that it can wake us up. There's one specific truck, a black pickup, that has oversized wheels and we know each and every time that truck goes past, even in the dark.

A year ago Rich planted a line of trees out front to baffle the noise. They're Emerald Green arborvitae trees, and they're beautiful. Or they were, until 6 of them died. Yep, brown as dirt. Rich and I, as proper rednecks, have discussed spray painting them green again so that we don't have to go buy more. Hey, it's a thought right?

The traffic is bothering Rich more than me. Until this house I have lived within hearing distance of railroad tracks my entire life. When I was growing up we had the line that went from Philly to Atlantic City. My high school boyfriend lived south of me, and we would be on the phone so long at times that I would hear the train at my house and then 20 minutes later hear it on his side of the phone.

There's something about a train whistle in the middle of the night to really give you pause. You have to wonder what it's carrying, where it's going, and if you'd like to be on the ride. The trains that went through my town mostly carried coal, and they'd lose slag, which is a glass-like substance that's mined with coal. We would go down to the tracks on sunny days and pick up the slag and take it home with us like it was a prize. We also used to put pennies on the tracks to get squished, even though the adults told us that if the train hit the penny it would derail. Derailment never happened. We watched.

My friends and I also used to "jump" the trains. This involved waiting for the train to go past, and then leaping between the cars as they went by. Usually we made it. One time my friend Johnny didn't, and ended up clinging to the side of one of the cars until he was brave enough to let go and hit the gravel. It was absolutely hilarious. Johnny was a bit of a knucklehead anyway, and we weren't sorry to see it happen.

So the traffic doesn't bother me even when it wakes me up in the mornings. Although I couldn't give a rat's ass where these folks are going on their commutes, at least I know folks ARE going somewhere, doing something, possibly important. Maybe. And the wonder of that is what makes me love the click clack click. Because honestly, who wouldn't want to hitch a ride sometime?


Jennifer said...

Ah, memories.

My last place was on the highway. And our bedroom faced the road. And while it was annoying at times, it was also a constant.

And trains, dont' get me started. I looooooooove them. For the same reasons. Where are they going? What are they carrying? And that sound. So mournful in the middle of the night...

Michele said...

My dad has always lived near train tracks. They have never bothered me either... in fact, you get used to it that when you DON'T hear trains, it keeps you up, feeling as if something is missing. That happened the one time I had my apartment near a track, and the mississippi flooded and the track was closed for almost a month. No trains. Odd feeling, waking in the middle of the night and not knowing why.