My first long term relationship was with someone who lived in New York City. The first time I went to Manhattan it was truly overwhelming; skyscrapers, people, endless avenues of shopping, bumper to bumper traffic, Broadway, Times Square, and noise. In the daytime it was exciting but at night it was too noisy to sleep. After a week there I kind of got used to the crowds but nighttime sirens, garbage trucks with clanging cans, and screaming drunks validated the nickname The City That Never Sleeps.
Although Atlanta is a big city, we lived in the suburbs, at the end of a cul-de-sac, with a forest and a creek behind us. In the daytime we heard birds chirping. At night we heard nothing, or if we did it was an owl screeching that would startle both us and the dogs awake from a sound sleep.When we first arrived in Carcassonne we stayed in a hotel for several days where we had to get used to city sounds. Although I only recall one siren, the garbage trucks were back as were the noisy drunks. Early one morning I awoke to what sounded like a large, angry mob chanting in French, of course, headed in the direction of the hotel. When they did not arrive at our doorstep, I concluded with relief that they must have been a garrison of paratroopers, based just blocks from the hotel, out for an early morning run.
We’ve been in our house now for a while and we find it generally very quiet. The stone walls help exclude the sounds and considering that this was a mill worker’s house, probably built in the 1400s, they have been maintaining the peace for a long time. The one sound we do hear, if the wind is blowing especially hard, is the banging of wooden shutters that have come loose from their catch. Ours are painted the quintessential pastel blue that you see all over the south of France. I don’t mind the sound at all.