Culture Fail: How Corvallis Led Me to Despise Trains

Trains, we all love ’em. They’re big and mechanical and go chugga-chugga-chugga, choo choo and whatnot. There was a little one that could—even though most of us, upon first encounter, were worried that he could not. Spoilers. Anyway, I was into trains, too… until I moved to Corvallis.

trainYou see, I live near 9th and Circle. I also suffer from insomnia and a lack of air conditioning. These two powers combined means that when the train rolls through town at 3 in the morning and blows its damnable horns for the better part of what seems like 20 minutes through my open window, well… that’s a bad thing. The clockwork WHANNNNNNNN is starting to even gain ground on birds, which I have despised for centuries. I know it’s a safety thing, and I’m glad for the whistle-pigs, elephants, and three-toed sloths that are saved every year by such brain-shattering blasts, but oh, the humanity. In particular, my humanity.

As it turns out, though, the entire world hasn’t gone mad. Just a few years back Flagstaff, Arizona, with upwards of 75 trains moving through the city every day, installed “quiet zones” that effectively banned the horns in those areas. To mitigate the danger, the zones contained added lights, crosswalks, and gates. Expensive, but soothing to the heart and soul. You hear that Corvallis? Gimme.

Although Flagstaff police have noted multiple dangerous traffic violations committed by shallow swimmers in Darwin’s jacuzzi, no reports of any accidents have occurred in the three years since implementing the zones. No hide nor hair on a single pink fairy armadillo harmed. Not a single wino with a broken tooth that wasn’t already broken. Some other places haven’t been so lucky; Florida’s accident rates in the 1980s during a widespread horn ban shot up 195%. But then again, that’s the same state where a man recently jumped off a roof naked, punched a resident, and then pooped on the floor while trying to steal his television. As an ex-Floridian, I can confirm that that’s just how we roll.

As monumentally unique as everybody knows Flagstaff to be (wink), there are a lot of these quiet zones all over the country. I’m willing to bet that if you interviewed a random citizen from any one of these areas, they’d say something like, “Ever since the quiet zones were implemented, I’ve been getting a lot of great nights of sleep. I was also promoted at work, grew six pack abs, and my dog can fly and work the coffee maker. I punched out Marky Mark and saved my wife from a dragon.”

So, Corvallis, I beg of you. Spend millions of dollars so I can not only sleep at night, but violently avenge The Funky Bunch.

By Johnny Beaver

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