When the Planes Start, It’s Time To Go

My quaint studio in Woodside, Queens, while well taken care of and thoughtfully painted by my landlord, (each section of the apartment — living area, kitchen, bathroom — was painted a different color so the meager 150 square feet appeared to be broken up into rooms) became loud one day. Not sure which particular day it was, or the time of year…but my once quiet neighborhood somehow became the lucky ones to be in the flight path to LaGuardia airport. Every two minutes, from about 6am to about midnight, the roar of plane engines would burst overhead.

But it wasn’t always that way.

It started when it was cloudy…or rainy. Then, it was also on sunny days. And snowy days. And foggy days. And at night. Every night. Falling asleep with earplugs and the TV blasting with the sleep timer on to drown out the noise — this became my evening ritual. I’d wave to the pilots and passengers on my way to the subway every morning after a restless night.

Sounds of all sorts are expected in the city. Cars, car horns, car alarms, clanking radiators in old buildings, the buzz of window air conditioning units, a kid crying after dropping his ice cream cone that he just obtained from the music-playing Mr. Softee truck, a random person yelling “Fuck you!” here and there…but never did I ever expect planes to keep me up at night. Obsessing over where to go to brunch on Sunday, wondering how I can afford a new pair of boots I spotted in SoHo, wishing my grandmother would let go of the fact that I’m never having kids…these were the things that should keep me up at night. Planes should not be on the list.

But they were.

I moved away shortly there after.

Fast forward 5 ½ years. I’m in a different state. And just moved to a different town. My previous town, about 25 miles from where I am now, was fairly peaceful. The lack of noise was music to my ears. But today…today it’s raining. And I just noticed something I haven’t heard in some time — the sound of jet engines. Creeping into my soundless afternoon. Perhaps it’ll just happen when it rains.

But I know one thing…the planes are a sign. A sign to move. To move on. To pick up and go. To leave on said jet plane, and not know when I’ll be back again.

I’ve been wanting to go…to return to the city. To a neighborhood that is not in the flight path to LaGuardia. Because while there are other noises in other neighborhoods in the city, they are not a reminder to leave. But a welcomed reminder that you are amongst the energy that is the city that never sleeps.

But the planes…they are a sign to go.

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