It starts at 6 a.m. with the alarms that wake us up.
Then the television goes on for the news, because so much has probably changed in the four or five hours that, maybe, I’ve been asleep. The coffee maker gurgles and burps in the background. The toaster pops and the skillet sizzles. The child groans and complains in an effort to resist getting out of bed, once she is up, fed, and dressed, I exchange a brief goodbye with my wife I open the door with a creak. I walk to the car, my daughter in front of me, shuffling her feet across the pavement.
The car rumbles to a start, the heater roars as it blows the still cold air through the vents. My daughter asks me to listen to the radio so I tap my phone to life and turn on the app to bring up her favorite station. Soon enough They Might Be Giants are singing an upbeat tune about the sun and the car’s wheels roll down the driveway with a soft crackling sound.
The traffic of the morning rush is heavy and the other drivers whoosh past me in their vehicles. A semi thunders past, causing the SUV to rock slightly in its wake, and I can finally turn into traffic, the wheels barely miss traction and the tires let out a short squeal as I punch the accelerator. It doesn’t take but a few miles before one driver blares their horn at another for not quite hitting the gas fast enough when the light turns green.
Turning into the residential area that the school is in and the birds are chirping amid the thrum of cars riding over speed humps. The door of my Highlander opens when I stop in the traffic loop, children are laughing and chattering on the way to class, in the distance the bell chimes telling me we were running a little behind.
I arrive back at the house, greeted by the barking of the dogs. I retreat into the bed room to lie down, the whirring vibrations of the washer and dryer disturb my rest through the wall. I pretend to drift off, maybe I really do I can’t quite tell, reflecting on how most of this will be replayed in reverse when I come to pick the girl up from school later in the afternoon.
My evening is spent yelling to be heard over the clanking of pans, the rattle of plates being stacked and unstacked, and the calls of the other cooks; beyond it all is the incessant, maddening, rhythmic throb of the exhaust hood. Throughout the night I am bombarded with the empty chatter and inane, superficial questions of those around me, and who can not stand the thought of finding themselves with a moment to think. When the last dinner is served and things begin to die down the crew blasts their musical selection while we clean and close the kitchen, something electric and loud and grinding.
Finally at home, things are still. The dogs and child are asleep, my wife on the back porch listening to the computer through head phones. I sit and the click-clack of the keyboard is my companion for the remainder of my night. Finally I go to bed.
The silence rolls in. My mind wanders for a few moments, then I fall asleep.
It starts at 6 a.m with the alarms that wake us up.
Image cropped from Quiet Goes Noisy By Nicholas Noe CC BY-NC 2.0