A few minutes ago there was an odd noise outside. It wasn't loud; certainly not startling, but odd and distracting. As I stopped reading and canted my head, being a member of the pattern-finding species, I found something familiar in the sound: It reminded me of the TARDIS. The sound stopped right about then, not even giving me time to finish thinking Okay, what are the odds someone on the next block has decided to play the TARDIS sound over a PA at this hour?
In this neighborhood? Not bloody likely. Though I have lived in places where that wouldn't have been all that surprising. (Which thought was followed a moment of wistful memories of the Phase 400 I got for a song in college, and the time my friend Greg and I hooked it up to his Speakerlab Klipschorns and played the `Telarc 1812 Overture — famous (among audio nerds in the early '80s, anyway) as the first recording to capture the cannons with real fidelity. Also, infamous for blowing speakers up :^)
A few minutes later, noise started up from the same apparent source. But this time it lasted more than a couple of seconds, and quickly resolved into something that made sense. Not exactly something you'd expect. But it made sense.
Late this afternoon we had a brief squall. Plenty of wind and rain noise, and my blinds moving some in the breeze. But I've been keeping windows open all summer, with my blinds adjusted for airflow without letting people casually look in. And I'm pretty much past worrying about the rain getting in: I'm on the ground floor, and there's a two story house a driveway-width away on both of the sides with windows: Even when I find myself leaning into sideways rain if I go out to the street, there's not enough coming in my windows to do any harm. So I went back to what I was doing.
A couple hours later, I went to the grocery store. The first thing I noticed when I went outside was a few small branches on the front stairs. Probably the first serious wind gusts these trees have seen since they got their full wight of foliage this year, I think to myself. I back out of my driveway, go to the corner, and as I pull up to the stop sign, a fire engine with its lights on comes into view around the corner of a neighbor's house. So I was expecting to see some sort of ruckus when i looked left at the stop sign. Still, a tree leaning at about a 15° angle toward said neighbor's house — apparently intact but with the ground around it on one side torn up — wasn't exactly what i was expecting.
From there I went west on Mystic Valley Parkway. The I saw plenty of tree branches on the ground, but nothing that seemed like a big deal. But then, after the rotary at the Rt 60 bridge, about in the middle of the bend there, there was a police SUV stopped in my lane with its lights on. No sign of the cop, but the message was obvious. I turned left up a little residential street — and then saw, behind the SUV, the tree fallen across the westbound lane.
So when the noise picked up again around 22:50, I was like, Okay. That's a chainsaw. And that's a woodchipper.
As I said: Not exactly something you'd expect. But it made sense.