Sponsor

The terror that lay the parking lot

Otherworldly sounds and torments plague a north-side resident as construction rolls on.

Otherworldly sounds and torments plague a north-side resident as construction rolls on.

Photo by R’lyeh Imaging on Flickr.

This is our newsletter-first column, Microtones. It runs on the site on Fridays, but you can get it in your inbox on Thursdays by signing up for our email newsletter.

It was before sunrise in the eleventh month of the plague when I awoke to a bone-chilling cacophony. The blackest dread pervaded my senses.

Sponsor

In the cold morning, a horrendous, rhythmic screeching had erupted from beyond the windows, its source a mystery. It repeated: eight shrill, metronomic shrieks followed by a boom that shook the earth. It was as if the primordial beasts of ages past had returned and were fighting to the death outside of my tenement. What ghastly horror!

My mind groped for the source: could it be the wagon that carries the waste away? No! It was not garbage day. Could it be removal of the thick blanket of snow that carpeted the earth below? But nary had fallen for a week… In the early dawn’s light, I peered suspiciously through the blinds. My tired and grumpy eyes were shocked. No. Gods, no! It cannot be. Not now, of all times! Why?!

But for all their wanting, my disgruntled peepers could not be deceived. For it was the most horrid source of tumult one can imagine discovering in a world where the axis of existence is based solely within one’s dwelling. Yes, to my terror, in the little-used parking lot of a local non-profit, something was taking shape… but first it had to be demolished. 

Construction!

Soon, I made an investigation. Approaching against the bitter winter breeze, I was stricken upon viewing the site from another angle. I clutched my chest. Oh, insult of insults! A metal chain fence upwards of 10 feet high had been erected. It was fortified with sandbags. I shuddered at the recognition of the extended presence of these cruel disturbers of the peace. 

Encaged in my very home, I paced. For I have business to attend to and constant CLANGing and BEEPing interrupt my thoughts. I imagined them, the men shrouded in glowing yellow vests with hats hard as stone fitted atop their craniums. They would be placing orange cones and using machines to lift—and drop—their vile materials. No, this cannot be. IT SIMPLY CANNOT BE! What of the children and those with sensory issues? What would become of all of us in the surrounding domiciles, holed up like insects in the cells of our homes? Yet, the men had come. They had stationed their behemoth Canyoneros in a space that regularly held no more than a few fuel-efficient vehicles. It was to be.

The hideousness continued—I see it still! There are machines like giant ants, grotesque mechanisms with a man inside. They sit there, waiting, droning with the revolutions of a diesel-spewing motor. Waiting to bludgeon the sweet, precious silence. The machine raises a dumpster to a second-floor window. Soon, it is filled with the guts of the building. The beeping commences as it backs away before it is body-slammed onto the concrete below. One wonders what wages the men in the machines earn to incite such grating commotion. Over and over. And over and over. And over into eternity.  

A cargo shipping container labeled “Findorff” is the hub of all of this racket. Findorff. Oh, how I curse that name! For now, it disgraces the view of my favorite tree—the tallest in the yard—the one I used to gaze at while remembering balmy summer days as I ruminated over breakfast each morning.

And now, these are my days. The window panes rattle intermittently between beep-enveloped dumpster-concrete collisions, a somber background to the clatter of my keyboard. The grey, menacing winter sky offers no relief. Nay, it offers worry, as I gaze toward my new, less-opulent, favorite tree! Whither the relative silence, marred only by locomotives on the nearby railroad tracks, by regular F-35s flyovers, commercial airliners, a factory of indeterminate products by the way, and by the alarmingly strong vibrate setting on my upstairs neighbor’s phone? What I wouldn’t give to return to that peace!

For here I must live and here I must work. Oh, I would away to a coffee shop, comforted by the surrounding din of work meetings and first dates. What joy, what sweet relief I could find in a co-working space, so many of which before had seemed unnecessarily costly and dangerously bro-adjacent. For today, I would nearly welcome those bros as kin, gladly receiving from them a fist bump, were it not for the plague that they assumedly spread at some point. 

Sponsor


fe9f37d9-9b05-4689-8b8d-66a33c38700d.jpg

But, wait! Listen! Can you hear it? This very instant, nothing is audible aside from my roommate’s voice during a Zoom meeting. A thought dares creep into my head. Might today be the day? The hallowed day I close my eyes for a nap? Gingerly, I recline and rest my weary, sound-boggled head, closing my tireder and somehow-grumpier eyes. My breathing deepens. I drift off to… CRASH! BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP. 

But no. No. I have no choice but to remain here. In a dearth of naps and captive to the rattling of the walls of this classic historical 1990s apartment building that protects me against the plague and holds me within this maddening, torturous soundscape. The beeping… the banging… the beeping with the banging inside of it! Must I remain captive forever more to the sound of … the construction!?

Get your new monthly donation matched 24x!

tone madison logo in blue and yellow

At a time when Madison is going through a lot of change, we want Tone Madison to be something you can count on. You can rely on us to spotlight the artists, musicians, and ideas that make up the fabric of our city. You can rely on us to challenge the status quo with inventive, adversarial journalism, including our coverage of abortion rights, housing, and labor. 

 

But here's the thing: reader support is crucial our survival. We'll keep writing the articles you love (or love to hate) for as long as we can—but we need your help to keep our small, independent publication going.

 

If you make a new monthly donation today, NewsMatch will match it 24x! Will you help us continue to tell Madison's stories?

Maybe later

Help us give our local arts scene the attention it deserves.

Become a sustainer today and get your new monthly donation matched 24x.

This site uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.

Scroll to Top