The sound of silence
When we think about pollution we often envision brown skies and soot covered mountains. But how often do we think about noise pollution when looking for a new home?
Until I moved to California I never considered how much of an impact noise might have on my chronic body. The home we just moved from was on a cul-de-sac. I figured that would cut down on the amount of traffic our street would experience and maybe it would have if I didn’t have multiple neighbors who liked throwing parties every night of the week. We had cars double and tripled parked each evening, loud music blaring until 2 or 3 in the morning, and people yelling to be heard over the music. Other neighbors set off nightly fireworks all year long. If that weren’t bad enough behind my backyard fence was a main street. This street wasn’t just busy with regular traffic; it was also the main route to not one, but two hospitals. There were police, firetruck, and ambulance sirens going past my house 24/7!!!! Living next to an intersection was the worst place for someone who has been in multiple vehicle accidents. Every time I heard tires screech my back muscles would tense up waiting to hear a crash.
I am much more relaxed in my new home. It is placed deep inside the subdivision and NOT on a cul-de-sac. Nobody double or triple parks nor do they throw nightly parties. Our street is filled with families who so far appear to respect their neighbors. Although I can still hear sirens, they are off in the distance and no longer cause my body to tense up.
Before committing to our new home we drove by it multiple times at different days and times. We took a good look at the neighbors. Most had children whose parents were watching them play. This was refreshing as my former neighbors all set their children loose without supervision. One might suggest talking to a few people who currently live on the street you are considering moving to, but that doesn’t always work. I did talk with some before moving into our former home. I was told it was a quiet street. Apparently the people I spoke with only wanted to see someone living in the house instead of having it sit empty. Because I had ridiculous noise pollution to the front and back of my former home my only option was to keep my windows closed and never leave the house. But who wants to stay inside or run their air conditioner all year just to avoid noise?? Not me! We still have nightly fireworks, I guess it is something that is unescapable in southern California, but overall the environment is far more suitable to my chronic life than our former home was. One thing I have learned from this move is that just because I think I am able to tolerate constant noise, my body can’t. I can distract my mind or even tune out certain noises, but I can’t stop my muscles from reacting to them.