We live in a noisy world.
Even in the quiet suburbs, there are noises everywhere (and those don’t include the noises in your head — unless I am the only one who has those…). Most noises you can identify — sirens from firetrucks, police cars, ambulances. The unmistakable sound that comes from a motorcycle or a car with a loud transmission. The noise of children screaming, parents fighting, babies crying. The gentle chirping of a squirrel that is enjoying chewing on your swing set like it is a sandwich, or the incessant hammering sound of a woodpecker’s beak as it ferociously attacks the siding on your house thinking that it is wood. Dumb birds.
Let us not leave out the barking dogs. Barking at each other, barking at someone walking by and scaring the bejabbers out of them because it is 11:30 at night and you had no idea that a new dog moved in around the block and you were just walking minding your own business…Then we have the carpool honkers in the morning, my personal favorite. Lots and lots of noise. So when you are in your own home, you escape all of that outside noise and welcome the noises that you have become used to.
When I lived in my home in Fair Lawn, when the heat would turn on in our rooms, it made a noise similar to the theme song of Jaws. But it never really bothered me because I became used to it. When I moved into my home in Teaneck, when the heat turned on, it makes this awful banging noise that I would always pray wouldn’t wake up the boys. And then you just get used to it. I remember the first time son #1 and son #2 napped in the house, I went up to the office/guest room/ place where stuffed animals go to die to work on the computer and I heard this strange whirring sound — I had no idea what it was — and then I realized it was the sound of the fan in the kids room below me.
The sound the freezer makes when ice is being dispensed. The noise that comes from the dishwasher when it is on. The noise that comes from your washing machine up through the vents into the kitchen that got you nervous the first time you heard it, but then it became part of the orchestra of your daily life. All the noises are wonderful until they start to sound different. Different usually means something is going to cost you money. Like when that same ice dispenser noise stops making noise. Or when the noise your oven makes when it turns on, no longer makes that noise… When the washing machine stops making the loud spinning noise or when the dryer doesn’t make any noise at all because it won’t turn on…
Another personal favorite is the “Where is that dripping sound coming from?” The leak from the roof that makes its way into your bathroom ceiling but doesn’t start dripping until the water makes it into the ceiling of the basement and then goes drip drip drip onto your basement floor. Ah yes, any of these noises will all cost you a visit from your favorite fix-it man. Good times.
But what happens when you are sitting on your couch and you start to hear a muted but familiar noise — more of a tune really. You have no idea where it is coming from, but it sounds like the music to, “Shabbat shalom, Shabbat shalom, Shabbat, Shabbat, Shabbat shalom.” Where the heck is that coming from? In the closet? Under the couch? Behind the couch? Nope, it is actually in the couch. And what is it? The amazing shabbos clock that my friend had bought each of my sons when they graduated high school. Apparently son #notwillingtoidentifyhimself fell asleep on the couch on shabbos and he brought his clock with him so he wouldn’t miss minyan. But then left it under the cushion. So for a brief moment I thought I was receiving a heavenly message to go to shul on a weekday, when in reality I was receiving a sign that my adorable boy (still yet to be identified) was too lazy to bring the clock upstairs. Those noises are heartwarming and won’t cost you a penny…
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck likes when her house is full of noisy boys because it means her kids are home. It also means there will be lots of empty water bottles and wrappers all over the place, but that is ok too.