Thursday, July 29, 2021

Noise, noise, noise

We live in a relatively quiet, laid-back area of Toronto, not exactly the suburbs, but still far from the stress and hubbub of downtown. It's a middle-class residential area, probably upper middle-class these days, given recent house prices. A desirable area.

Our house is on a relatively quiet street, a couple of blocks from the quiet end of the main shopping street. It's not actually a cul-de-sac, but a short one-block street linking two cul-de-sacs. It doesn't really go anywhere, and it's not a short-cut to anywhere.

It is, however, right by the boardwalk and the beach, overlooking a pleasant park, and, although it is at the quiet end of the beach, it's a magnet for dog-walkers and paddle-boarders in the summer (it really is a quiet, peaceful place in the winter, when the residents get to reclaim their neighbourhood from the tourist hordes).

But, as I was sat out on the front porch with a cup of tea and the newspaper the other day, looking forward to a nice relaxing half hour on a sunny Wednesday morning, I was beset by noise from multiple sources. It was not so much traffic noise, although our little street has a surprising amount of that, including the ridiculously noisy impositions of garbage trucks, deliveries to the small lakeside sports club, and the occasional de-mufflered motorbike (why?)

No, the noise was mainly coming from my neighbours. In addition to yapping dogs (there are always yapping dogs, any time of day or night, it seems) and loud kids' summer camps (which it's hard to complain too much about, I guess), at any given time there are: lawnmowers and weed-whackers (both household and municipal); leaf-blowers; circular saws, drills and other construction noise; chain saws from the constant tree maintenance crews that tend the many mature trees in the area; compressed-air paddleboard inflators; screaming Sea-Dos out in the lake; and any number of other sources of noise.

Much of this cacophony seem totally unnecessary, but we have become so innured to all this ambient noise these days that often we don't even notice it. How I wish it weren't so.

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