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I’ve been on a quiet train, but I’ve never been on a silent train.

What’s the difference?

A silent train is a train devoid of all sound. The train is always filled with sound: The syncopated rattling that echoes through the coach as the train speeds along the rails; the muffled voices of passengers who know how to hold a polite conversation; the occasional announcement over the train’s intercom–these are sounds that are part of the environment. Regular commuters have adapted to filter out these sounds.

Noise is different from sound. The annoying ringtone, the 20-something blathering away loudly on a cell phone, an argument between an irate passenger and the conductor, the creaking and screeching as the train makes its slow, agonizing turn into Union Station–these are noises that pierce your inner ear and reverberates through one’s skull.

A quiet train, then, is one devoid of noise.

But what noise is depends upon the ability of the passenger’s  ability to filter out sound. That is, all trains have sounds; the sounds that one cannot filter become noise.

So, what is noise to you? What sounds are you constantly unable to ignore. Click on the Comment button below, and describe your noise.

Today, it’s the snoring person behind me: He sounds like he is gargling gravel.


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