Lileks: Worried about light rail noise? Try living under a flight path

  • Article by: JAMES LILEKS
  • Star Tribune
  • March 15, 2014 - 4:52 PM

I live under the flight path for the airport. In the summer we look up at the planes:

“Gear’s down, I see. Tread looks a little thin, don’t you think, dear?”

“I’m more concerned about the shadow of rust on that wing bolt.”

We don’t actually say this; we write it out on scraps of paper and hand them to each other. I’m astonished the Metropolitan Airports Commission wasn’t required to pay for sign language classes so we can have conversations in the summer.

If you want to talk to your kid, for example, you have to time it right. COME DOWN HERE RIGHT (roar of plane approaches, screams overhead; shuddering of the good china ceases) NOW. Conversation buffers like YouTube videos.

And I don’t care. Wasn’t exactly a surprise when I first looked at the house. There were planes overhead. What are those shiny metal objects overhead, my good Realtor? What provokes them to scream with such fury? Be they dragons?

I thought of this when reading the difficulties of finding a solution to the SW leg of the light-rail line. It should be named the Purple Line, for the color people get when the subject comes up. Some don’t want to hear the trains. Some don’t want to see them. Hey: I would trade the bored, robotic CLANG CLANG CLANG and brief clattering rumble for an early a.m. plane any day. You think: It’s probably a UPS cargo plane. I did order something from Amazon. So I’m partly to blame.

But then comes another. And another. We have a saying in these parts: I tried to get back to sleep, but then the planes started. It’s like saying I tried to run away, but then the pterodactyls started eating me.

The current mood in Minneapolis seems to be this: Everything should stay the way it is but also things should somehow magically get better. More people? Great! But build that apartment building elsewhere. More transit? Fabulous! Transit is awesome. But I don’t want to see it, hear it, smell it, or see slight vibrations in my coffee because an essential component of a citywide rail network is passing by.

If this attitude had prevailed in the previous century, the airport would never have been built. It would be 30 miles out in the countryside, and even then planes would have to land 10 miles way and taxi in at 5 mph.

Through a tunnel.

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