Thursday, January 24, 2008

News from the streets

A reporter would start out with a main point and then tell a story that exemplifies it. But I can´t come up with a main point. Generalities skew the story I am experiencing. They fail to grip the reality, and they often support or refute stereotypes with an inadequate amount of real knowledge to make such grandiose claims. So this time, because I want you to understand the streets, I´m not going to tell you what I think of them. I´m going to tell you what they´re like.

This morning, the rumble of life is constant but varied. It's a fruit salad-jumble of sensory overload, bursting with the many sounds of work and effort. Stand on the corner of Independencia and Amaldo, just beyond one of the city´s rare patches of grass, and you´ll here it all. High in some second story restaurant across the street a hammer clangs against a nail. The sound repeats every ten seconds. Like every city, traffic flows in its constant way. Here, each one calls out to the world in its own way. Some squeak when they stop, others boom with music. Motorcycles buzz by, always seeming to come out of nowhere. The notes rise and fall, the beat even and consoling, the drum rythms adding a clubbing feel to the streets. Some engines whine as they speed up, others sigh. And the buses do it all. They grunt to get going, let out air with a sighing sound as they wait for passengers to load, and squeak as they stop. The break squeak pitches are high enough to disable a dog´s hearing for life.

Then there are the sights. People in neon outfits ride in pairs on motorcycles, faster than the cars. There are so many children walking with adults who pull them along briskly, on definite missions to just get through this place. Except one girl who passes with her parents. She is carrying a guinea pig cage, following her parents and her little brother.

A woman in a purple cotton skirt and purple sweater around her waist hobbles past. She wears a bright blue headband and a tie died shirt. Hobbling is common down these streets. Using canes, lenaing on walkers, and wearing neck braces is also common. There is a sense that everything needs fixing. I know, I know, I just broke my rules about drawing no general conclusions. I guess if I had to choose a thesis statement, that would be it.

1 comment:

John said...

Jeanine, I can really picture being there. It sounds chaotic!

You paint a great scene with your words.