Saturday, July 21, 2007

Mysteries Down Below

Everything about living in a city has always sounded glamorous to me - including the blaring of car horns and police sirens. They signify life, constant motion and excitement. Now that I am actually living in a city – albeit not Manhattan – these sounds are less fascinating and more a disruption of my sleep. As we have been getting used to them, however, a few new – and mysterious – sounds have been beckoning us to our window to try and figure out the sources.

The first one occurs about once a week in the late morning and starts out in the distance, but gets closer to our apartment over the course of fifteen minutes. All I can decipher about this one is that it is a human voice and probably masculine and he is repeating the same thing over and over again as he gets closer to our building and then again further away. What the voice is saying is a mystery – but it sounds something like this: “BHAAAACHHHOMIIIIAAA.” I have also determined that the man is not being tortured or murdered in the streets, as he returns each week yelling the same thing. My guess is that he is selling something, but if so, I can’t imagine who his customers could be since no one seems to understand what he is saying, not even my Spanish speaking maid. One of these days my curiosity will trump my laziness, forcing me running into the street, following the screams until I find the source.

On the other end of the pleasantness spectrum is music from an alto saxophone each afternoon around 2:30 or 3:00 from somewhere down below in the street. Yet again, the exact location is mystery because I cannot spot the musician on the sidewalk, or even in the park below where in my imagination he is sitting next to one of the fountains as passers-by toss coins into an old felt hat he has sitting by his feet. All I know is that the music began randomly last Friday and has continued all week, each day a few familiar tunes whose names I cannot recall. To add to the ambiance, this is just about the time of day when it starts to get cloudy in preparation for the storm that is sure to come within the hour. It is one of my favorite times of day – the sky is the most beautiful color of gray (a color which my description could never do justice), slow saxophone music wafts up from the street, and I have the urge to curl up on the couch with a good book and a chenille blanket.

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