I'm something of a night-owl. I guess a lot of writers are. I stay up late; I sleep late. I like to work in the middle of the night. I saw a study the other day that claimed when someone is interrupted at a task, it takes them 22 minutes to get back into their creative mood. I don't know about that "22 minutes"; but for sure interruptions can play havoc with a writer's concentration, during the day. Ah, but then there's night time. Night time is glorious. No phones ringing. No knock on the door. No appointments to keep. No errands to run. 'Just the chill, still, of the night." (Cole Porter)
And yet, there is one interruption I welcome, one sound I listen for, when I'm working late. It comes between midnight and 2 a.m. It's the sound of the street sweeper, coming up the street. I assume you know what a street sweeper is. It's a truck, usually white, with big brushes sticking out from beneath the truck, that are whirling, spinning, parallel to the ground, kicking up, then sucking up, the debris and waste that has accumulated in the street, right near the curb.
You can tell its distinctive sound, while the truck is still a block or two away. It's a low hum from the truck's engine, as the street sweeper moves slowly up the street, married to the sound of the soft swish of spinning brushes, on the street, up against the curb.
I get irrationally happy when I hear that sound, first in the distance, then coming closer and closer. I run to look out the window. When it comes into view, I always get a big grin on my face.
And along comes this hulking white thing, with its high beams piercing through the darkness. It looks like some mechanized beast.
Often, for no reason I have been able to discover, the sweeper pauses, and then comes to a complete stop, right opposite my house. It stays there for several minutes. Of course, I am aware the truck has a driver, and for all I know, he is just stopping to have a smoke, or eat a sandwich. Still, in nighttime, when a writer's fantasy imagination is at its height, I am always struck by an irrational fantastical thought: did the sweeper stop, just here, because it knows that I am the one house within two miles that is so happy to see it? And hear it. Looney tunes! But I like the universe my head lives in.
For a history of street sweepers, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Street_sweeper For street sweeping in my town, see: you're curious about the town overall, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danville,_California