Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday, June 25, 2012 - No comments

Summer Symphony

It’s that time of year again when life moves outside and the lines between “living room” and “balcony”, “my house” and “the whole neighbourhood” are blurred.  Windows forced open by the sticky heat usher in a breeze, and along with it every sound within a five-house radius.  Walls cease to exist, and everyone’s business becomes everyone’s business.  
I no longer need an alarm clock because if the sound of Ayşe Teyze unbolting the door as she heads off to Qu'ran class doesn’t wake me, the sound of the kid down the way yelling out the window to his grandma in the adjacent house to see if breakfast is ready surely will.  
The closure of school brought the influx of “the summer people”, doubling the number of voices echoing off the walls within our complex.  My morning quiet time is punctuated by Ayşe (the other Ayşe’s next door neighbour - common name here)  arguing with her four-year-old about what she’s going to wear, and in the afternoon, I can tell which neighbour is watching which soap opera and what the Prime Minister is preaching about today simply by tuning my ear to any of the four TV sets within earshot of my bed.
When I’m still trying to sleep or attempting to focus and be productive, the “communal background noise” can make me wish I weren’t a year-round dweller in what is, for most of the folks around me, a neighbourhood of summer houses.  
But then evening falls and the delicious smell of meat sizzling on someone’s grill mingles with the scent of our honeysuckle.  The clatter of silverware from the family eating dinner on a balcony in the building across from us blends with the voices of the guys in plastic chairs watching TV outside on the one below it.  The explosion of wedding fireworks evokes a chorus of bleating from the (terrified) sheep down the road.  
And as I sit here on my terrace, a big pot of Turkish tea by my side, I tinkle my spoon in accompaniment to the laughter and sanat music floating from the neighbours’ balcony across from us, and I can’t help but admit that “neighbourhood noise” on a Mediterranean summer night makes for my favourite kind of symphony.