That’s a Strange Noise

Lily was cruising along at a comfortable, almost-legal five miles above the limit when a small smile grew on her face. “Huh, that’s a strange noise” must be the worst thing to say to yourself while driving, she thought.

She started thinking about other times you wouldn’t want to think that: in a plane, on a spaceship. Was it all mechanical conveyances? No, Lily decided, I’d hate to hear a strange noise while high up in a tree or climbing a mountain. Or having sex. Was there any circumstance where hearing a strange noise was a good thing?

Well, she thought, it must depend on the noise. Being strange meant it had to be unfamiliar, and that unfamiliarity made it suspect and potentially dangerous. Even if the noise presaged something good, the listener couldn’t know that, must feel something like fear or discomfort until she could identify the noise. If it turned out to be good, she would experience the pleasure of relief. And if bad, she would have the initial alarm to help prepare herself. But it always started out bad.

Shifting gears to leave the freeway, she heard a metallic squeal. Huh, she thought, that’s a strange noise.

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