Wherever I have lived (and I have moved quite a few times now) there is always something which grates on me. Whilst I always try to focus on positives and maintain a balance between gratitude and settling for something that really isn’t ok, it has become a bit of a game for me when living somewhere new, to discover what will be the ‘thorn in my side’ about the place.
When I lived in San Francisco, it was the ant trails which would stream from my cereal boxes (especially my lucky charms and Golden Grahams) if they were not 100% air tight; in London it was the sirens (I swear there was a police car which would park down the road for hours with its sirens left on); here in Lisbon, it is what I have named, “The Evil Parrot” (at least I think it is a parrot, I have never actually seen it).
At sunrise, filled with fresh hope and the prospects of endless opportunities awaiting in the new day, the morning air echoes with delightful birdsong. Then the evil parrot awakes. As if possessed by hate – its mind poisoned with bitterness and envy towards the ‘free birds’ – the evil parrot begins it’s own cacophonic canticle. So malignant and unrelenting is its tune – as if proceeding from the very pit of hell – that a housemate was recently affected into moving to a different room on the other side of the building. 6am it begins, and in a disrupted state of semi-conscious sleep each morning, I could not even begin to guess for how long it continues. Earplugs do nothing.
I am not sure how its owners survive, being in a much closer proximity (maybe, inversely, it is the best itself holding them captive). I am also not sure what the other neighbours think; in Britain I know there would be a very passive aggressive, euphemism-loaded, verbal exchange, something along the lines of: “Your parrot is quite er, lively, isn’t it…” (translated as: “I hate your wretched bird for waking me up extra early each morning”). I am not sure how the general Portuguese culture usually responds to situations like this.
Anyway, I should really try to be a good neighbour. Maybe I will have them over for dinner sometime. As long as they bring the parrot…