Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Soundtrack for My Street

Ah summer. Break out the sandals, short skirts, popsicles, and salad for dinner. The windows are open, secured with metal hooks to keep the cross breeze from banging them shut. And suddenly there's a whole new level of sound in our third floor apartment, at all hours of day and night.

Motorcycles and scooters speeding by.

The sound of the pompiers leaving their station (about two blocks away), sirens blaring as they head off to a call.

The hum of traffic -- cars, buses, trucks -- coming from the busy avenue at the top of the block.

The scrape of the street sweepers' plastic brooms as they move the debris through the gutters.

A baby crying in the building across the street.

The beep beep beep of the garbage truck and the crashing sound as the glass recycling bin is emptied.

Whoops and horns honking in the distance as someone's favorite team advances in the World Cup.

Some crazed fool screaming at the top of his lungs.

Rap music with a heavy bass coming from someone's car radio.

Wine-fueled voices of revelry from the crowd on the terrace of the bar on the corner.

Snatches of conversation from folks walking by.

Kids playing soccer in the courtyard.

Oh yeah, it's charming all right. Now could all you people please pipe down so I can get some sleep?


La Bonbonniere said...

Sounds wonderful! I am jealous!
Nothing but crickets in the Connecticut suburbs!

Starman said...

Ah, the joy of living in a world class city.

Sasho said...

Ear plugs, the kind that look like white wax but are made of some kind of silicon. You kind of squash them into your ear and they're big enough not to get lost in your ear canal. They don't shut out every noise but they definitely take the edge off. I looked for them in France in a desultory way. If you can't find them, ping me, and I'll send them over tout de suite.

Karin (an alien parisienne) said...

I'm writing a blog post where I am referencing this post -- it will be up soon... (it will be embedded somewhere in the 3,000 words I usually wind up writing, lol). I love this post. It's like a prose-poem describing JUST what it is like to live in Paris in the summer!

Hot. Beautiful. Happenings until the wee hours, even on weeknights. Dusty from windows with no screens that are open all day. Vibrant. Thriving.

And noisy. :)

Carolyn said...

Wonderful evocative post!

In our Paris courtyard (and others?), FILLING the recycling requires sort of pushing the items -- say, a wine bottle or two -- one by one through a small-ish circular rubber 'seal' at the top of the bin. The lid itself is locked, apparently to prevent people from dumping huge bags or other things (?), so you can't place the larger/noisier recycling items more or less gently on top of the pile inside.

This having-to-give-it-a-push process and only-one-at-a-time approach ensures the resulting crash, and the next one, and the next one (since most of us accumulate several items before recycling) -- especially with windows open in the summer -- is enough to wake the dead.

We do however love how frequently garbage is collected and streets are cleaned in Paris. Ah, there's a balaance there somewhere.

Cheers and happy summer!

Anne said...

Carolyn: We have the same bin and it makes quite a racket when they empty it. Of course, it's nothing compared to when in college, I lived across the street from a bar and the truck came EVERY morning to empty what must have been a huge quantity of beer bottles. CRASH! At least they're recycling.

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