The Newtown Pentacle

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It’s a real migraine out there.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Let’s face it, what we New Yorkers actually do is raise a hell of a ruckus wherever we are, but especially so when we’re at home. Personal experience of visiting relatively rural and quiet areas, like Vermont, reveals the effect on my hearing that living in this constant din has wrought. For 24-48 hours after leaving the City, there’s a high pitched phantom tone constantly present. I’ve always thought that the “wheeeeeee” sound, in addition to having a medical definition and name, is my brains attempt to filter out the constant rumble and thunder of city life – cerebral noise cancelling if you will.

All the engines, and generators, exhaust fans, jets, car tires on asphalt, buzzing things on utility poles, everybody talking, the subways, the chattering of millions of birds – the air is polluted not just with toxic gases and sewage bacteria rising on the breeze from out of the harbor – but with noise.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s only during power outages and blizzards that you get to hear the City hush up for a while. I’d settle for regular powers like being able to effectively climb a ladder or balance my check book, but a humble narrator has often fantasized about possessing some sort of super power. My first choice would be invulnerability, of course, but a lot of the really interesting choices involve sight and perception. X-Ray vision? I’d worry about giving people cancer just by looking at them. Being able to fly without the invulnerability would actually be kind of dangerous.

What if you could visualize sound? 

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I know, that’s the sort of thing somebody would ask in a dorm room shortly after passing the bong, but still.

The BQE would probably look like something from Van Gogh, with crashing scalars creating fractal wavefronts which bounce and dance along the road itself and all the brick walls of the buildings which the highway weaves through. The East River would likely be a majestic sight, and would exhibit something akin to a sonic Jackson Pollack painting.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 29, 2016 at 11:00 am

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