07:09:2006 Entry: "Ann : The Whistle"
I subscribe to a mailing list that serves my neighborhood and one adjoining it. It includes information that is of interest to people living in said 'hoods and the east side in general. One issue of contention lately has been the implementation of the train whistle. There had been a whistle ban for the past few years or so, but they have now reinstated it because they couldn't get the funding to get those guard things (I don't know the technical name of them) that block off an intersection when a train passes through. It seems like everyone who responds on that list (I don't...I just lurk) is anti-whistle. You'd think the local railroad commissioner (who was in charge of reinstating the whistle) was the devil himself by the way these people talk.
Then I read that the main proponent of the whistle ban lives on the same block as we did when we first moved to Madison. That street is unusual as there are no houses across the street, just train tracks and gardens growing there started by the local homeowners and "renters with seniority"--because Stan and I only lived there a year, we weren't able to put a garden across the street. We had no seniority. We were treated like inferior life forms. But I liked the train. Traintracks instead of houses meant fewer people, fewer people meant fewer families with children, fewer children meant fewer annoyances during the day, fewer little unmonitored sprogs peering in my front window because my upstairs "neighbor with seniority" said it was okay to hang out on our house's front porch (even though they weren't bothered by it because they were on the top floor that didn't have a front porch). Why would a train whistle bother me when there were screaming sprogs on my porch? Naturally, I was the mean neighbor because I told them to leave, and Upstairs She was the good neighbor because she said it was ok. Upstairs She and Upstairs He kept us awake all night, sometimes with music, sometimes with tv, sometimes having political arguments with their parents. (WTF?) Then early on Saturday morning when Stan and I could sleep in, Upstairs He would become Downstairs He, because that's where they stored all their sporting equipment that they dumpster dived for at a local sporting goods store. Not only did they have the gardens across the street, not only did they claim the driveway so Stan and I had to park on the street, but they also claimed the basement with all their crap that they were too good to pay for (more money for pot!) They were like a nasty old tomcat pissing all over the entire place marking their senior renter ownership, not unlike their nasty old cat who tried unsuccessfully to jump into our windows. Stan taped the windows shut with duct tape to prevent that, but he removed it before we moved out, unfortunately because that cat was successful in entering with the next tenants, and killed one of their kittens. Had he known they had cats, he would've left the duct tape there (the landlord wasn't going to replace the defective screen anytime soon).
So a train whistle was going to bother me? Not bloody likely! A train whistle is soothing, even if it is right across the street, even if it is loud sometimes. A train whistle goes away. Partying neighbors go on and on into the night. Politically arguing neighbors never seem to end. They were nothing like train whistles. They were train wrecks.
So we moved. I knew that when we moved to Madison we wouldn't be able to afford to rent a single house like we did in Fort Collins before we moved out here. I knew we would have neighbors. But I never realized we'd have to deal with 40-year-olds acting like 20-year-olds. We were both in our late 20s at the time, and we really wanted a place of our own. Plus, fixer-upper houses were relatively cheap to buy in Madison, especially in the general neighborhood that we were already renting in. We pretty much looked for houses all over the east side, but settled on one that I had my eye on for months, one that had finally come down into our price range. And that house, was it far away from the train? No, it was a block away from our rental! In fact, the train is virtually just as close as it was before. The whistle does not bother me one bit, but thinking about living in that rental with all the sprogs and the killer cat and Upstairs He and She does piss me off to this day. She never worked, BTW, she just hung out...claimed she had some disease, although she was more physically active than I was because I spent all my time in school and working, which meant I had to go to bed early and she could stay up all night having political arguments.
Train whistles make me think of the Merle Haggard song "Mama Tried." Good song.
Posted by greenthumb @ 06:27:2006:10:04 AM CST
I find them comforting in a strange way. Reminds me of travelling. Trains are good.
Posted by Ann @ 06:27:2006:10:17 AM CST
I should also note that Upstairs He and Upstairs She did not have kids of their own, they just let the neighborhood kids hang out all the time. I probably didn't make that clear above.
Posted by Ann @ 06:27:2006:10:21 AM CST
Trains are also a very efficient way to move people and goods. Far more so than cars and trucks.
Posted by greenthumb @ 06:27:2006:10:39 AM CST
Yup. Which makes it so confusing as to why the PC crowd around here is so anti-train. Or at least anti-whistle (which saves lives).
Posted by Ann @ 06:27:2006:10:43 AM CST
This is one of the strangest things the midwestern political landscape - liberalism can go off the deep end into absurdity. It is almost as if the liberal view has a segment that is unconcerned with intelegent problem solving and is simply motivated by their own self absorbed mean streaks. It is impossible to hold a conversation with these people because they always end up telling me what my views are and it is impossible to get them to acually listen to what I'm truely trying to say....Oh well I alway make sure to avoid wasting any time talking to people like this is I can detect them in advance.
I really really hate it when someone else tells me what I believe....How rude and arrogant and stupid - and them they probably go around telling their friends untrue things.
Somehow living on Main street with all of the strangeness seems like some kind of initiation to Madison. If you can survive the hazzing you get the stay.
I love the train whistle - and I love it when it wakes me up at night too.
Posted by stanley @ 06:27:2006:09:07 PM CST
I love to travel by train. Especially in a compartment with beds and stuff. Great. And I dreamt about your dog the other night, Plato.
Posted by The norwegian-irish-german person @ 06:29:2006:12:32 PM CST
Hey, is that my "future tango partner"?
What was Plato doing in your dream? Biting Mr. Jennet's arse, I hope!
I wish I could travel by train here, but Amtrak is OUTRAGEOUSLY expensive, and they don't allow dogs.
I took a couple x-country train rides when I was 6 or 7 with my mom. It was one of the best times I ever had in my life.
Posted by Ann @ 06:29:2006:12:49 PM CST
Future tango partner? I dunno. All though I can dance tango in a simple way.
Posted by The norwegian-irish-german person @ 06:29:2006:03:26 PM CST
I was re-reading some ancient entries in my wayback machine and you had signed your name as "your future tango partner."
Plato does like cats and he would probably lick them...if they let him.
I am so soccer illiterate...I have no idea what is happening in the WC. OK, so before someone accuses me of being too American for not caring about the WC, I didn't even know who was playing the superbowl last year either. I'm an equal opportunity multi-cultural sports illiterate.
Posted by Ann @ 06:29:2006:03:37 PM CST
Hehe, yes, I have signed with so much
Posted by Erik/Nikolas/Nico/tangopartner/sexmachine @ 06:30:2006:04:12 AM CST
Ok, your commentthing doesn't handle html tags, cause the last one there is supposed to be outlined, as it is now, it looks like I seriously mean I'm a sexmachine, which again make me seem insane, which is partly true, but I refuse to be insane in a "think I'm a sexmachine" way, because I'm not a sexmachine and neither do I believe I am, well, you get the point
Posted by Erik/Nikolas/Nico @ 06:30:2006:04:18 AM CST
Posted by Ann @ 06:30:2006:10:40 AM CST
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