In response to The New York Times article “650 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing”
135. “What Are the Sounds That Make Up the Background Noise in Your Life?”
Brooklyn’s symphony plays night and day. Now that it is summer, and I keep the window open, I hear its clear arrangements, not just a muffled sound. Now that it is summer, more car owners drive round with their windows down as music blasts. Now that it is summer, on any ordinary afternoon, myriad sounds. This is the noise in the background:
Four pairs of pigeons like clarinets, two seagulls like oboes, and a crow trumpeter.
For more brass, four low-riders blare mariachi; three trucks, sliding past red-lights, trombones; and an 18-wheeler caught off course, well, it’s a tuba.
Eight mothers, one at a time, every minute, walk their children home from school, yell as contrabass deep through their kid’s ears. The children themselves, usually so many, are divided in two groups. The eldest and most steady are the ones who walk closer to my window–the first violins. The second violins are the rowdiest–they sprint back and forth between the intersections, cause their mothers to scream and pull at their strings. Of course, there are babies in baby strollers, violas, who wail in perfect fifths, as cello fathers talk on the phone and to each other.
A gong, a crash, between motorists. Bass drum and snare, the drivers who step out. While the drivers that shout behind and around, the pissed timpanists.
On Sundays comes the xylophone player, driving an ice cream truck. While the castanets and triangle don’t come from outside, but are roommates inside, watching their bassoon cartoons on TV.
There too is a piano man, somewhere, tapping away at keys, could be a Drake melody, a Migos-Uzi riff, or a siren song, the ambulance. The orchestra director is World Trade Center One we all see directing. The harpists, you and me.