Things that go bump in the night

Photo by Cambron Johnson. From left to right: Athena, Carol, and Poe.

For the fourth largest city in Kentucky, Owensboro is almost completely quiet. The entire city is asleep by 8:00p.m., it seems, but there’s always background noise. I’m surrounded by so many animals that I’m used to noise. A dog was always barking, a cat was always chewing on something plastic that he shouldn’t be, a chicken was clucking, and a duck was always quacking in the backyard outside my window. (And sometimes, for a period of a month or so,there were 9 baby ducks in a kiddie pool beside my bed. Sometimes, when I close my eyes, I can still hear the peeping.)

Cicadas and crickets were singing. It wasn’t loud, but it wasn’t quiet, either. It was a lullaby you can’t hear anywhere else. There is no lullaby in Lexington, though, because compared to Owensboro, the city never sleeps. Fire trucks and ambulances are constantly roaring down North Broadway. (I lived behind a hospital for 10 years and I didn’t hear half as many ambulances as I do on a daily basis here.) There’s my friends crammed into one dorm room, playing Cards Against Humanity and scream-laughing so long and so loud we can’t breathe. There’s the washing machines whirring down the hall from my room. There’s Japanese anime playing from my roommate’s TV. There’s more men than I’ve ever seen in my entire life gathered out in the grassy patch between the dorms —probably 50 of them—chanting. There’s people thumping up and down the stairwell. My phone, laying on my wooden side table, buzzes. (I would say that it rang, that iconic marima chime, but let’s be honest. I haven’t taken my phone off vibrate since 2012.) I check it and there’s a text—hey can u drive us to Sonic we’ll buy u a milkshake.

Lexington’s music is a lot different than Owensboro’s. Adjusting to the different sounds is a struggle. There are times, many times, that I find myself missing the sounds of home and times when the songs that Lexington traffic sings to me get to be far too much. There are times when the crickets get annoying and the Japanese I don’t understand is comforting, but I love both of them differently and neither is better than the other. The quiet is nice, but there’s something enchanting about the noise.