The noise of a big city

This city is noisy.  Pure and simple.  I love it.

I just finished reading Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese.  (If you haven’t read it, please do.  Immediately.)  There is a scene where a young man that has grown up in Addis Ababa visits New York for the first time.  And he’s amazed by the quiet of the city on the freeway.

…the silence was unreal.  In Africa, the cars ran not on petrol but on the squawk and blare of their horns.  Not so here: the cars were near silent, like a school of fish.

I feel like Houston was that school of fish.  Despite the traffic.

In Istanbul, you hear everything.  Partly because the weather (until winter, anyway) is gorgeous, and the house windows are all open.  There are no A/C’s running.  But mostly because the drivers – taxis and otherwise – communicate through horns and yelling.

And the street dogs bark, one answering another.  The street cats fight, and you hear them yowling.

And the call to prayer sings out five times per day.

And the people walk by on the street, holding hands, linking arms, and laughing or calling to one another.

And the people here love their techno music, and play it in their cars, of which the windows are of course rolled down.

It’s a big part of what contributes to the “alive-ness” of the city.  And it’s alive at all hours.

By the way – it was really nice to read, and finish, a book.  I’m an avid reader but haven’t been able to concentrate on a book for two months.  Too many things swimming in my head.  But now, I’m grateful to quiet my head for a little while.  It’s a nice respite from thinking about how to find an apartment, whether or not I would find my way home that day, or trying desperately to communicate without a shared language.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sarahnoid
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 13:11:21

    Ahhh, Cutting for Stone!!! I listened to it and looooooooved it. My mother was reading it a few months ago and I asked her how she liked it–she was only a few chapters in. I told her to stick with it and she did. She liked it too. So melodic and beautiful. And I knew immediately what passage you meant.

    Shot you a twitter request a bit ago. I don’t know why I haven’t been following you–perhaps I got a little itchy with the trigger finger? Anyway, you were mentioned with much love and reverence at the last Crafty Girls Thingie at Christine’s old studio in the Heights last Wednesday. Everyone (myself included, though I’m not sure if we’ve ever met in person?) thinks you’re amazingly brave and awesome!


    • houstonchick
      Jun 03, 2011 @ 13:17:29

      Thanks, Sarah. I don’t think we’ve met, but it sounds like we have many mutual friends! Glad you enjoyed cutting for Stone – what a gorgeous book. Trying to absorb as much as I can here, and will continue to post updates on the blog. Look forward to meeting you when I’m back in Houston!


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