Slat: more than just a Runway
Just as Idaho is known for its potatoes, Slat is known for its airplanes. This Southwest Canton hosts the largest airport for hundreds of miles: Albeit International, which handles both regional flights and international airlines looking for new waters. Granted, it’s a beautiful place: the arboretum on the inside and wooden superstructure on the outside give it a presence that rivals Stapleton International itself. Unfortunately for those who live amidst the runways, AI is more of a nuisance than anything else.
For one, there’s the noise. Even with liberal airport boundaries that keep most houses well out of the reach of passing jets, Slat isn’t the place to go for a quiet stroll or a lazy day at the park. There is a reason why this Canton sells more decibel meters and sleeping pills than the other ten neighborhoods combined.
One of Slat’s 27,000 residents put it this way:
“When I got here, I thought to myself: ‘What a steal! Three bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a beautiful view of a park.’ Problem is, the shower heads rattle when I bathe, bedrooms aren’t much good when you can’t sleep, and the park reeks of kerosene. I’d be better off living underground.”
About forty percent of Slat lies in the infamous “Earplug Zone,” where residents get treated to 100+ decibels of noise every other minute. Indeed, apartments here sell for less than luxury cars, but soundproofing usually falls on the tenet’s shoulders. Plane spotters have little problem with the airport’s proximity, but for the other 90 percent of residents, the planes are nothing to look at—and too much to hear.
If Albeit International was a noise problem alone, residents might be more cordial to the airport. Unfortunately, the second largest international hub in the Mountain West tends to overshadow everything else in the area.
“You mention to someone that you’re from Slat, and it’s never, ‘Oh, how is the food there?’ or ‘Why, you have such nice houses!” It’s always about the airport, one hundred percent, and I’m yet to get into a discussion about anything else.” So lamented a veteran resident of Slat, and not without reason. Even the name of the Canton refers to airplanes.
What, then, remains of Slat when AI and its sphere of influence is ripped out of the picture? Plenty. Slat, ironically, has the highest concentration of recording artists and music studios in all of Albeit; perhaps the soundproofing has something to do with it. Slat also boasts a distinctive architectural tradition. Every so often, a group of prospective owners will visit the airport’s scrap yard, steal a few tails and nacelles and build a house out of them. Such “wing houses” are extremely popular in the city; some of the better built have even received mention in cutting edge architectural magazines.
Slat also specializes in writing and film. A host of poets lives in what they call the “Jet blast commune,” where two dozen or so writers bounce ideas off one another and share their earnings. Film making also has its roots, but as most interests in Albeit go, moviemakers here carry out their work in private.
No discussion of Slat’s strong points could continue on without a mention of Raumschiff, perhaps the most secretive “Secret Society” of them all. Rumor has it that this group started up back in 1984, beating out the airport by a year. It is said to be behind a number of projects in the southwest region, including the famous “Spire of Questions” that was erected near Runway 10, the mile-long street painting on Judicial Road and a series of mysterious radio broadcasts from KALB 1440. It is widely believed that their “base,” should one even exist, lies below one of Albeit International’s runways.
Slat is tired of its designation as the “Airport Canton.” Talk to any Slat resident who’s not preoccupied with film work, poem writing or a Raumschiff project, and they’ll explain to you how Slat is a misunderstood oasis for creativity and originality. Of course, you might not be able to hear them.