I spend a great deal of time sitting in the living room (my unofficial office), feeding my senses while I work. I face the front door, and have a lovely view of the garden and hedge. I listen to the birds chirping, and the breeze delivers the soft fragrance of oleander, plumeria, and gardenia. I couldn't ask for a nicer work space.
The hedge blocks my view of the street, and it blocks the view from the street, providing privacy to our home. There are many things going on in the street, and I like to try to figure out what is going on without getting up and looking.
A big truck comes by, and I hear the sound of the trash can being picked up and dumped. I always try to beat the garbage truck, having all our trash out at the curb by 6 am so it is taken away the same day and not sitting there waiting for an animal to tear the bags apart. We have a lot more trash pick-up than we ever had, and they come by most days. Sometimes the workers are singing, making an unpleasant job a lot more enjoyable.
A taxi stops in front of the house, signalling the pick-up or return of the family next door, or some visitors for the family. Sometimes the taxi is delivering workers for the tower across the street, as it did late last night. From the bits and pieces of conversation we were able to overhear, Miguel gathered they were there to repair the a/c (I didn't even know they had a/c).
All kinds of mopeds stop in front of the house looking for Miguel. They either beep their horn or call "Capi", over and over until he either responds or they decide he is not here.
Sometimes a car or moped stops for no obvious reason. Are they looking at the pile of wood under the tree and trying to decide if there is anything there they need? Do they have to relieve their bladder? Did they stop to talk on the phone, or to eat, or to make out?
Occasionally I spot people walking by the house...shuffling feet, clomping feet, running feet, depending on the urgency of the journey. Sometimes they are talking. Like this morning - the daughter said it was Thursday and the mother insisted it was Wednesday. "No hija, es miercoles", the mother declared. Well, I wonder if she will apologize to her daughter when she learns she is wrong.
When the wild cats want to let us know they're waiting for their food, they gently call. The baby is the one who usually makes the noise - Miguel says the adult tells the baby to go into the garden and call the humans because he is small and cute and the humans can't bear the thought of the baby being hungry. The adult is right, because this is one of the few noises that gets me up quickly, because if I don't feed them when they're around, they may go off and not come back until the next day.
Some evenings the tamale lady comes to the front gate, and knowing we usually buy her tamales, she calls over and over until we respond.
There are times I'm sitting on the couch with the front door open and someone is out in the street calling "Buenos Dias". I may be in the middle of something or on a conference call, in which case I choose to ignore the caller. The owner of the voice calls out many times over the few minutes they are standing out there. Although they cannot see me, they see that the door is open and that is a sign to them that there is someone lurking around somewhere. Finally they give up and move on.
I'm not the only one listening to the noises in the street. Loco and Negra are always on alert, although sometimes Loco is sleeping when Negra decides there is something out there we need to know about and he is late to join in. Sometimes the dogs bark for things I don't care about - other dogs, cats, or just some silly noise they heard that they think is cause for alarm.
The other night we were in bed and heard people speaking loudly across the street. We didn't bother to get up, but Miguel could tell from the conversation that the people had stopped under the tree and were sitting in the two camp chairs we placed out at the curb for trash pickup. We had cleaned out the shed and decided that the chairs were ready for the trash - worn and rusty and covered in cat hair. We had a little chuckle as we thought about the people getting home and discovering the back of their shorts covered in fur. We also expected the chairs to be gone by morning. But a testiment to how ready the chairs were for the trash - they have been there since Monday morning and not even the garbage men have taken them. Finally today Miguel put one chair on top of the garbage can - we'll see if they take it now.
As I wrap up this post, I am listening to the solitary parrot who flies past our house in the mornings and evenings. The parrot talks away to himself as there are no others around to respond. He seems to be mad because his chatter is quite animated and loud, and he goes on and on as he flies overhead. Around 5:15 tonight he'll be back...yelling all the way.