Monday, January 28, 2008


I sit here waiting to hear a song. I want to hear it, but at the same time I don't want to. I know that once I hear the sounds of that catchy refrain through the still night air I won't be able to get it out of my head. I don't know the words. There are a few that I can recognize, but as a whole I can not make any sense of it. I just know that tomorrow I will be whistling it as I walk through the halls, and the children will laugh at me. I don't care. Hearing this song will warm my heart and solve a few of my problems. I want to hear the kerosene truck and its song.

Loud music used to be a bane in our old life in Michigan. For a time we had a neighbor who would sit in his blazer for hours on end with the stereo turned up to eleven. The bass was loud enough that it would shake the pictures on our walls and give me a jarring, rattling headache. Then a couple of years later we had a few neighbors who would sit on their porch till the wee hours of the morning talking, arguing, and drinking. On a hot summer night it is a hard decision to have to decide; do I want to be kept awake by the loud neighbors, or do I close the window and be kept awake by the suffocating heat. Now loud music is the cue to which we live our lives. If we listen close we can time our daily existence by what is played over the town loudspeaker. It must be close to dinner time if we hear the pleasing theme to Greensleeves. It is played every evening at five O'clock. I hope to have Logan asleep by the time we hear Auld Lang Syne drifting trough the night. The song that I had associated with New Years Eve, here is played for the whole town every night at nine. I am awoken every morning by our neighborhood temple. Seven thirty-five on the nose the drums begin to bang, and the voices begin to chant sutras. I know that I have to hurry if I am not out of bed when the chanting starts. We time our lives in accordance to the noise in our environment.

So now I sit and wait to hear the sound of the truck that will come around and fill our big blue can with kerosene that we will use to heat our home for the next week or two. I try and distinguish the sound of the kerosene song from the various other sounds that crash through the air. Is that it? No, that is the hot potato truck. Yeah you read correctly. There is a truck that drives around the neighborhood selling baked Japanese Sweet Potatoes. That song could be it, but it's the guy who drives around collecting unwanted electronics and scrap metal. And don't get me started on election season here. I thought negative ads on TV were horrible, but at least you can change the channel or turn the television off. Here the candidates drive around town in a car with a giant megaphone strapped to the roof giving their campaign speeches at full volume. Over and over, starting at about seven in the morning. Imagine being woken on a Saturday morning by, "Hi I'm Fred Thompson. Let's work together. Please vote for me!" It gets even worse when the Hillary car and the Gulliani car drive into your neighborhood too. They all duel it our to see who can be the loudest. They smile and wave their white gloved hands at you while they deafen you with their rock concert volume campaign promises.

I still have not hear the sound I am listening for. I hope he comes soon because I am really cold and the kerosene can is empty and I would like some heat. I sure hope he gets here before Auld Lang Syne.


Kevin Myers said...

It's 8:30 and the truck just came around. We now have a full jug of kerosene and a warm apartment.

Ryan said...

Oh talking about sounds...
we have:
at night there is the hourly police whistle of the night watchman
each morning the horn of the school children pick up car (picture the chevy metro with 8 kids and a driver in it)
then all day long many many vistors
The bell of the ice cream man
The low growel of the 'Chai' guy
'cardboard paper' man
the bannana man
fish and prawns lady (which is always yelled into our window because we like prawns)
The shrill yell of the vegitable lady (very similar to two cats meeting in the night)
occational clothing vendors
occational shoe vendors
knife sharpener
bedding mat vendor
sweet coconut
fuel oil
auto rickshaws
music from the wedding hall down the road
noise from the temple across the river
the call to prayer of the Mosque
the bell of the catholic church

I am so glad we live on a secluded deadend road where it is not that busy