As a resident and student of downtown Chicago, I almost never leave the Loop. I see it during the day when it is full of life, shopping bags, that occasional odd person, and of course, those art students with their fancy glasses and skateboards. I rarely plug into my iPod anymore when I’m walking to school because I love to take in the sound of a busy city morning.
For the night, however, is another matter entirely. A constant popuri of strange, there is always one moment in the night when my roommate and I both look up at each other, one of us inevitably asking: “What was that?” So in no particular order, here are my “favorite” night noises that I hear from my apartment at night:
#1) The L
When my parents first helped me move into my apartment, they marveled at the view I had from my window, then were instantly blown back by the loud, abrasive racket of the CTA trains passing. “How are you going to sleep at night?” they asked, genuinely concerned. “Eh, I’ll probably get used to it,” I said, “Seriously, I don’t think it’s going to be a problem.”
#2) Screaming– They come in all different durations and pitches, male voices and female voices. This isn’t just occasionally– we hear at least one every night. I’m not talking the “ooh, having fun with the gals” sort of screaming. It’s the type I don’t know how to make sense of. I told one of my security guard friends at school about this, and she said: “You need to call in and report the weird noises you’re hearing”. I told her that if I did that, I’d be calling them every five minutes. *sigh* Undergrads…
#3) Parking Garage Alarms- I don’t know who designed it, but there’s a particular one that woke both my roommate and I up on our first nights here, saying: “Are you kidding me?”. It changes sound every three or four seconds, going from a looooong moan, to the sound of a self-destructing space ship, to the wail of a police siren, to a high pitched whooping noise. There has to be at least ten different alarms in this parking garage’s arsenal. An example of when diversity is not okay.
#4) HONK HONK– SMASH- I feel horrible, but when I heard it, I chuckled. Then hoped they were okay.
#5) Cool People with Cool Speakers- Until recently, my roommate and I got to hear and feel the bass speakers of other students permeating through the walls. I love me some Pitbull (Dale!) but really? Your cool is just too awesome for me.
#6) Animal Noises- I’m not talking the kind that’s usually paired with your neighbor’s mattress springs. I mean there are people who go out into the hallway and make convincing and loud animal noises. At first, it used to cheese me off. Then I started to laugh as I realized it was their way of asking to be let into someone’s room. Now I just laugh.
#7) “We’re watching My Little Pony, M************!”- ………………..I…can’t actually explain why the menacing, deep-voiced male of college age woke me up at 2 AM with this public service announcement from the hallway. I can honestly say I wish I had found out.
#8) Whatever they’re doing upstairs. It sounds like this.
While I’m thankful for such a conveniently-located, well priced living space, I’ll probably be keeping my eyes out for other options. In the meantime, I’ll be laughing at the drastic change from crickets and wild birds to the dulcet sounds of questionable activity outside the window.