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Train Horny

There is a Hassidic Jewish mom who lives with her two boys in an apartment across the alleyway out of my bedroom window. Where she makes food and where I make sleep and sometimes sex face each other, creating a great audial habitat of us hearing each other’s everything. I wouldn’t say that she keeps me up at night (nor do I keep her up at night) but she does wake me up super fucking early sometimes, wailing at her boys to get out of bed and to eat and to do chorse in not-English. Sometimes she’s yelling in what I imagine is Yiddish, other times I’m sure it’s French.

This is annoying—but she isn’t a train. A train speeding past my apartment in the wee hours of the night or early in the morning would drive me fucking insane. I am not down with that. Neither is poor Mike Powell, who actually has to deal with trains.

He explains this in a beautifully written, wonderfully considered countdown of the trains that keep he and his wife up at night. He explains.

As a child, I loved the sound of trains. They seemed spectral and romantic. I also liked the reminder that work was still being done at a time when most people were sleeping. It connoted progress—like night was just preparation for day, and day for night. But like many things that were romantic to me as a child, the reality of the train horn has set in like a rude and bitter light.

His train nemeses range from “bald eagle with a hurt wing tucked into a tiny little sling” cries to that “diminished chord I associate with hot jazz, or horror movies.” All this is to say that trains are fucking noisy nuissances. It’s a great little read, an example of brevity, genius, and creativity.

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