Night Noise

At night our neighborhood takes on a completely different persona.

It is no longer the leafy, hilly grid of late-19th century streets where people walk their dogs and their children, using the street, not the sidewalk as a walking path because not all the blocks have sidewalks. The mix of professors, teachers, bankers, laborers and health care workers who live in the houses here are sleeping (or like me, they are trying to).

But someone walks the streets dragging things around. And someone else yells things into a bullhorn.

The dragger first: For nearly a decade, on odd nights all year round, I hear the rattle of something that might be a wagon or cart being dragged or pulled down the street. It starts to the south and moves north toward the river. It is loud enough to wake me, and sometimes it takes a while for me to realize it is what I've come to think of as The Night Noise that has interrupted my precious sleep.

Someone is moving things at a time when they are likely to be unnoticed. Or, as I once suspected, perhaps someone is scavenging for things.

I cannot jump out of bed and rush to the window. Well, I could - were I lucid enough - but the cedar trees block my view. By the time I am awake enough to comprehend that The Night Noise is back, whatever is making the noise has traveled farther north and is out of view.

The Bullhorn is something else entirely. We have heard it all year round and at all times of evening or early morning. There was a time when I thought it was coming from a large mill located up the river, but the words projected by the bullhorn are not words that would be said over a public address system, if you get my drift.

I've asked neighbors about it. Apparently, my husband and I are the only ones who have heard it and it was only last year, or perhaps the summer before, when my husband finally heard The Bullhorn for himself.

Living as I once did in a series of urban apartments, I have heard many odd and alarming sounds at night. But these noises baffle me, and I won't be happy until I discover their source.

Tired as I am after a night of sleeplessness last night, I did see "Julie and Julia" tonight. It's been a long time since a movie has engaged me that much, even though I knew the outcome. See it, if you have not.

The photo is from May 2007: Rue de Monttessuy, 7th arr., Paris.


Judy said…
What a spooky post Mimi! I wonder who or what is the scavenger? I hope you solve the bullhorn mystery. I'm like you, if I hear a noise I have to figure out what it is or I go crazy. I have not seen the movie yet but it is definitely on my list of things to do.
Hi Judy! It puzzles me, that noise - and while I am not losing sleep over it, I am sometimes losing sleep because of it.

On the plus side, very soon life will get back to normal and I can get back to cooking.
Anonymous said…
I love this photo -- so evocative. And as for noises in the night... well, when I first moved to Rhode Island, where it is dark dark dark at night, I was always sure I heard strange noises at night. Now those noises have become familiar, and less scary. But for the first few months, I felt just like a little kid, scared of the dark.
Penny said…
Oh my gosh Mimi. I so want to see Julie and Julia. I just finished the book and have a feeling the movie will be better than the book-I am hoping there is more of Julia in the movie. Great picture and strange night noises. Looking forward to you being able to cook more again, but shades of the twilight zone in your life right now.
Christine said…
First off, I must compliment you on that exquisite photo! It matches your intriguing and mysterious post perfectly.
We live in the country where the nights are black and the noises are mostly from wild critters rummaging around. Then the dogs go off, the critters leave and calm is restored. No bullhorns or other noises that bump in the night. And, as happened with Lydia, I was jumpy for quite a time when we first moved here. Now, I'll take those animal noises any night over some mysterious human-made noise in the dead of night.
Mr CC and I saw Julie & Julia last night. Ms. Streep gave another outstanding performance, nailing the persona of Julia Child that I remember from her tv shows. I came away very, very glad I went, although anyone who read Julie Powell's blog during that time knows that she wasn't quite the cute person portrayed in the movie.
I'm happy that some normalcy will soon return to your life and kitchen, Mimi, and await more recipes.
I would love to hear strange noises that did not seem, well, odd. Normal noises. Animal noises.

We have coyotes here, and I once heard a howl that must have been one, I am certain. Carts in heat? Yes, we heard those. We have large nests in our cedars, and one spring I heard the cries of some restless or alarmed bird at about 11 p.m. every night. Owls, once in a while.

Thank you, Lydia. I almost deleted that one.

Penney, I just adored the movie! Wish most of it had been on Julia, though.

We were at the movie last night, too, Christine. Sort of like a double date at different theatres!
Fiona said…
I love mysteries, if there is no tangible explanation for these manifestations then they are best left as mysteries ;)

I have had similar night time experiences - particularly the very loud dragging sounds in the wee small hours of the morning.

Like you Mimi, I have never been awake enough to jump out of bed and run into the street to see what is going on.
i love mysteries, too.

Sometimes a logical explanation takes the fun out of them.
We will go to the movie next week I think. He will look forward to the Paris, I will look forward to the Paris & Julia.
Fabulous photo! Night ... yes things can get odd in the night.
Amber said…
It is most likely a scavenger of aluminum cans in order to turn you and your neighbors’ recycling into cash. I have them in my neighborhood too.

Julie & Julia is fantastic, I haven’t read the book but I did read My Life in France that the Julia part was based on and loved it.
Libby Murphy said…
Oh my Mimi. That's intriguing and mystical. I too just saw Julie and Julia with a dear friend of Julia's which made it so special.
Happy Twirls
Tana, I look forward to your review!

Amber, that's what I was thinking, too. But what on earth were they pushing or pulling last week - it must have weighed a ton.

Libby, that does sound like fun! Wasn't Meryl Streep wonderful? What would Julia herself think, I wonder?
Alain said…
Hello Mimi,
I loved your quite surreal vision of the rue Montessuy.
I saw Julie and Julia Yesterday afternoon, and in spite of the fact that the film was better and certainly more entertaining than what I was expecting, I do not think that it reached its objective, whatever it might have been. I just published a little review expressing my feelings about that film on my blog this morning.
All the best,

Thanks, Alain. I made a beeline for your blog and pretty much agreed with you.

Even with its flaws, the movie entertained me in a way I have not been entertained by a movie in a long time.
I wil see the movie Julie & Julia tomorrow night. Yeah!
I'm now reading the book, too. I just love it.

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