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This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Four years ago we moved into an apartment overlooking a golf course. We previously lived on the 15th(?) hole of the golf course in Brigantine and it was so peaceful. The swaying grasses, the open space, the lake in the middle, the geese hanging out there being geese-ish.

Besides walking down to the ocean and standing in the beautiful emptiness of an off-season beach town, my favorite thing to do was get up just before sunrise and sit looking out over the fuzzy tops of the sea grasses to the brightening serenity beyond.

The sun didn’t rise on that side of the house, so the sky just got pinker and pinker until it was full-on day. Then depending on the weather you could either watch the grasses bow to the wind or sparkle against a crystal blue sky or flutter in relief against a backdrop of puffy clouds.

I was so delighted when we got here to Franklin and saw these apartments, with all the windows and the beautiful view overlooking bright fields, and the mockingbirds being mockingbird-ish in the tall, swaying trees.

Little did I know I’d spend the next four years in auditory hell, living in a construction zone, next to a maintenance shed, behind a church, in a community where “landscaping” means “a guy walks around with a leaf blower for six hours moving one blade of grass across the parking lot.”

Anyway, it’s a nightmare of noise.

I feel like I’ve been pretty good about not complaining lately. I’ve thought of things to write about that have been more story-ish and less snarky.

But today my brain is on fire and amidst the screeching banging clanking beeping grinding ringing, the word that pounded its way into my skull is cacophony. And I want to scream about it a little, maybe just to drown it out for a minute.

Funny thing about noise. Sometimes it’s a good thing. It just depends on the type. If it’s too quiet, all you can hear is the ringing in your own ears.

Growing up, my house was anything but quiet. With twothreefourfivesix of us there was substantial competition for dinnertime conversation so if you weren’t the loudest you probably didn’t get heard. But that kind of noise never bothered me.

That noise is more of the boisterous variety and it means fun and companionship, not “can’t they possibly hire two guys with a leaf blower and just get this job done?”

When I got married and there was no more noise, I didn’t know what to do with my ears. It was so quiet it was a little disconcerting. I could talk to Ralph over dinner without yelling, though sometimes I still did and he would say, “You’re yelling!” and I would say, “No I’m not, I’m just talking!

Like when my family moved from the Bronx to “upstate.” Not that our east side apartment was in a particularly noisy place, but it was alive. Upstate was the sound of the wood fence cracking. It was disconcerting.

But here, it’s just noise.

I’ve sat at the SoHo cigar bar outside the Holland Tunnel at rush hour with the cars blaring their horns and it hasn’t been as mind-explodingly noisy as it is here.

Between the quacking Amazon trucks and the beeping construction trucks and the clanging church bells and the roaring of whatever the heck goes on at the golf course, you sometimes can’t get a full thought formed.

Now they’re power washing the pool deck, which is outside my office window. And draining the water lines which is outside every window.

The golf course is being torn down and reconstructed. Literally, they are digging up and redoing every square inch of it. It’s like a cosmic joke. If you step back and look at it from 60,000 feet you’d think some petulant god-baby had thrown his toys down on earth and left them in the sand.

Dump trucks, backhoes, who-knows-what-nows. Mounds of dirt and the incessant beepbeepbeep of every truck moving.


I’ve stayed on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Twice. Once just to see what it was like and the second on purpose. The bars blare a discordant variety of music until 4am and throngs of people whoop and do various drunken things.

The hotel gives you actual earplugs.

Still, it was more peaceful than being here some days.

At least 4am in New Orleans is churchmouse-silent. Here, the golf course is just gearing up and the clanging and crashing starts outside my bedroom window.

You know it’s bad when you blast Chumbawumba in your headphones just so you don’t have to listen to another second of the noon church bells.

Now that I think about it, I probably don’t have enough Chumbawumba in my life.

But for now I do have enough complaining.

Finally, you may be wondering what the title has to do with this post. The answer is: nothing.

It’s April Fool’s Day.

Consider yourself pranked.

Photo: the very silent and peaceful grass behind the house in Brigantine.