Ambient sounds

Out of the ordinary, I am walking through my neighbourhood early on a weekday afternoon when, only intermittently, I hear an emergency siren that seems to be heading toward me. The blasts of the claxon are brief, with long pauses between, and then an ambulance crosses the intersection just ahead of me and I can see that it is only on its approach to the intersection that the siren is sounded.

That gives me insight on why, in spite of the various hospitals in the broader vicinity, sirens all day and all night don’t seem to be a feature here. They seem to be used sparingly, rather than full out, from Point A to Point C. This contrasts with the loudness of street conversations at every hour day and night, when people seem to call out to each other, engage in singing, laughing or just chat voluably. Human sounds, yes; amplified bells and whistles, no.

What a contrast to my immediately previous neighbourhood–well, that one would be neighborhood–which is a thoroughfare for every fire engine, ambulance, and police cruiser, 24/7, full siren stops out. There the sirens build in the distance, roar past the house and then fade only a couple miles up the road. And the only times I ever heard people’s voices in the street were when very large groups of middle school kids trundled past shouting, a relatively rare occurance…pass by, yes, shouting, no.

Just another bit of human scale living….


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