Sunday, June 22, 2008

the sound of (relative) silence

The Pension Quisqueya (aka the Pen), where most PCVs stay in the capital, is not nearly as nice or homey as the HUB in Santiago. It doesn't have cute inspirational quotes on the walls, it doesn't have a kitchen, it doesn't have a friendly lending library. But it does have one key advantage over the HUB, as well as over my site: the Pen is out of range of roosters.

Before I came here, I never realized how much terribly loud roosters are. In popular culture, they are portrayed as friendly, charming alarm clocks; a "cock-a-doodle-doo" at dawn and you're good to go. This is a completely inaccurate portrayal of roosters. Their cry is more like "EHHHH EHHH EHHHHHH" and it has more than a passing auditory resemblance to terrified screaming. Their cries are loud, unbelievably loud for such a small animal. Their cries cut right through headphones. And, worst of all, their cries are not limited to dawn. Their cries start up around 2am and last well through the morning.

Since roosters run around everywhere here, Dominicans are all used to these sounds and think nothing of them. They do not understand why I wake up at 2am every day, or why I have severe trouble falling asleep again when such cacophany is present.

I am still a vegetarian here, but now I fantasize about killing roosters. In my fantasies, I kill them with an axe, swiftly and cleanly. I know that in reality if I attempted such a thing, the roosters would undoubtedly evade me with ease, and the axe would be much heavier and harder to manage than it is in my fantasy. I know that I would be horribly disgusted if I actually beheaded even a single rooster. I know that my neighbors would be very angry with me if I killed all their roosters.

Nonetheless, I run through this fantasy every night when I wake up to rooster cries. Occasionally, I attempt to construct an alternate fantasy, one where I am soundproofing my room; this is less satisfying.

But this weekend in Santo Domingo, I am offered a brief respite from my enemies, the roosters, and this alone makes my 2-hour trip worthwile.

1 comment:

AltoClariTone said...

Rentala! I read your blog frequently, and I thoroughly enjoy your meticulous grammar and punctuation. Something has been bothering me.... why was a man with a machine gun guarding yogurt? I've been over it in my head and I am baffled. Can you hurl rocks at the roosters from your window?