The Postscript by Carrie Classon
A Pattern In Chaos
It’s seven minutes after 10 p.m., and the usual ruckus ensues.
My husband, Peter, is wearing earplugs. He is in the habit of doing this when we’re staying in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, because our little apartment is right in the center of town and, like all the homes in San Miguel, there is no air conditioning because it is cool this high in the mountains.
But the last few weeks have been warm, and it’s nice to have fresh air. So we open the sliding door to our little balcony, and we hear everything that happens on our street.
The occasional truck rattles down the cobblestones. The street is too narrow for large vehicles, so it’s only a few small trucks and folks getting home late from work.
We are surrounded by churches in all directions, and church bells ring early most mornings. Visitors are mystified, trying to understand when they ring and for how long. I suspect this is not, in fact, an exact science. Someone has to climb all the way to the top of the bell tower to ring the bells, and I guess anyone willing to take that job should be able to ring them as long as they like.
Firecrackers explode—sometimes in the evenings, but frequently in the mornings when the church bells ring. The fireworks have to do with the celebration of various saints and events on the religious calendar and so, while they are startling, I respect that they are part of the culture, part of living in the center of this very old city in the middle of Mexico.
But, usually, just before we go to sleep, the dogs across the street start barking like crazy, and even Peter’s earplugs do no good.
This is the thing that used to irritate me the most.
I would be almost asleep, and there would be this terrific yapping—loud and persistent and very high-pitched. I assumed it was random, and I was irritated that the owner didn’t do something about this nightly nuisance.
It was Peter who finally recognized the pattern.
At roughly the same time every night, we hear a motorcycle come down the narrow cobblestone road. We hear it stop, and as soon as it does, two little dogs start barking. We hear the sound of a metal garage door open, and the barking increases. Then we hear the motorcycle start up again and the garage door close behind. That’s when the barking reaches a fever pitch.
Peter says, “Daddy’s home.”
I wondered if he was right, so I started listening. Sure enough, it happened at the same time every night. Occasionally, Daddy got home an hour early, but generally, it was just after 10 p.m.
Motorcycle stops. Barking starts. Motorcycle starts. Barking goes crazy.
And who can blame these two unseen dogs for losing their little minds once a night—the most exciting time of the day—when Daddy finally gets home?
Of course, we don’t know what happens. We don’t even know which house the little dogs live in. But I imagine Daddy makes dinner for them when he gets home. He probably tells them what good dogs they are. I can tell from their excitement it is a happy household with these two dogs and Daddy.
And so now, in addition to the church bells and the firecrackers and the occasional rattling truck, I listen for those two excited dogs. They no longer annoy me. I imagine their anticipation—the motor stopping, the motor starting and finally the long-awaited moment.
Till next time,
– Carrie Classon is a freelance writer and author and lives in New Mexico. Her columns appear each week.