Soggy Jogging: Sidewalk Sounds

Before the thief found my iPod, I’d listen to Jay-Z and Hans Zimmer to get through my run.

After the thief found my iPod, Fargo and its reverberations became my soundtrack.

People’ll tell you our fair city is a quiet town. They haven’t been listening.

The song is an easy one to miss — shoes beating the crackling snow-dusted sidewalks, sweatpants swishing with an equally swishy coat.

Cars blaze by as I run down Broadway on an unassuming night.

Normalcy is relative. Home on the farm, the occasional neighbor and his pickup might putz by the driveway; you can see headlights a mile away on Highway 9, but their motors are muted.

Fargo isn’t muted. MAT buses screech to their stop on the :17s and :47s. Hooligans rev their moms’ cars and pull the E-brake in the church parking lot. One of them honks the rhythm to “Jingle Bells,” I think. I know the other is blaring “Redneck Woman” by Gretchen Wilson.

An ambulance wails until it reaches the nursing home and then silence.

My breath rasps out clouds in front of my face and another train whistles. Distant trains don’t sound so distant on a calm night.

Fargoans cannot escape the trains, locomotives I’ve become too accustomed to. Living last year in the shantytown on east Dakota Drive, Tommy, as we lovingly and begrudgingly called him, would shake our apartment awake, hourly. It’s like the scene from “Se7en” when Brad Pitt’s abode is throttled by the passing subway. Only Tommy would do that, plus bellow cacophony.

Living uptown miles from the tracks, the house can still hear him.

On the farm, whispers of train whistles travel miles over frozen prairie.

Ice snaps beneath my feet as I nearly biff it, again. I start walking, cooling down on an already cool February night. I look down at my newly purchased iPhone. It came in the mail the other day, ready to bump Aretha and Sigur Ros.

And it will, someday, but not that night. No thief can take the sidewalk’s song.

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