Friday, December 14, 2007


As I left the gym and stepped outside into the middle of yesterday's blizzard, it occurred to me that for whatever reason it gets REALLY quiet outside during snowstorms. By the time I got to the burrito joint I had three theories as to why this might be the case:

(1) Rain makes noise and snow doesn't. You get rain a lot more often, so when there's precipitation your mind expects it to spritz and pitter-patter on the street. Snowstorm quiet therefore isn't actually any greater than sunny-day quiet. It just seems that way, because of what you expect to hear on other days when you're getting soaked to the bone outside.

(2) There are fewer people around to make noise, because they've all left work and are hunkered down in their houses. Cars that are in the street are broken down or stuck in traffic and not moving, so their engines are quieter. It's just more peaceful, because most anyone with half a brain is inside and there's less sound kicking around in the air to begin with.

(3) Snow on the ground and on walls dampens reverberation and muffles sound. It might even be the case that big fluffy snowflakes in the air muffle sound a bit as well, just like the feathers would if you stuck your head inside a down pillow.

I think explanation (3) has the most appeal. In any event, I like the snow-quiet, and I'd appreciate it a whole hell of a lot more if it didn't come with snow-driving and -shoveling. Actually, I don't mind the shoveling so much, either. But the driving I can do without.

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