Off the Bookshelf: The Noise in Mexico City

More

Short excerpts from long reads

mexico city.jpg

"I have to learn to live with the noise. I have to realize that something about the racket is nourishing. After smog, noise is the most prevalent pollutant in Mexico City's air. Both have their obvious drawbacks but both also have their magic. When I lived in Los Angeles, the toxic coastal smog created some of the most spectacular and psychedelic sunsets I have ever seen. Here, in the high, landlocked capital, the smog sits on you but it also makes for dazzling skyspaces. Neon orange, electric gray, brilliant purples, and slanting pinks. I begin to consider the noise as a security blanket.

"Silence is not to be trusted, because in Mexico City silence is insincere. The city never wants to be quiet. There is peace to be made with the noise. I now try to picture my square, little apartment as a magical, urban tree house hidden above a really exciting river of people and energy. There is magic on the streets, I tell myself. The hustle! The raw kernel of big-city life! Listening to Beyoncé or Wisin y Yandel blast through my bathroom window every day reminds me, of all things, that I live in Mexico City. That means a place in the world with too many people, too much pollution, and too much noise." ~ from Mexican Gringo by Daniel Hernandez, Slake #2, Crossing Over 


Jump to comments
Presented by

Conor Friedersdorf is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he focuses on politics and national affairs. He lives in Venice, California, and is the founding editor of The Best of Journalism, a newsletter devoted to exceptional nonfiction.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

What Is a City?

Cities are like nothing else on Earth.


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

What Is a City?

Cities are like nothing else on Earth.

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

Just In