“Quiet Please”

Article published on Aug. 8, 2011
community published
Article published on Aug. 8, 2011
By Gerald In Bosnia and Herzegovina there is a lot of abandonned dogs along the towns and cities. Here the impressions of one foreigner in a Bosnian town. I used to live in an apartment on the Harrow Road, once upon a time the major route out of London when heading North-West. The window to my bedroom faced the road and just below you’d find a set of traffic lights.
Throughout the night the lights would halt the progress of night buses and I’d be subjected to the dulcet tones of a 10-litre, 6 cylinder torque heavy engine trying to motivate 10 tonnes of bright red public transport to its cruising speed.

My second apartment was situated close to the river Thames along stretch of the Embankment road. If you follow this road from Chelsea Bridge for approximately one kilometre to Albert Bridge, you can cross the river, loop around Battersea Park and back across Chelsea Bridge thus creating a natural motor-bike friendly circuit. At least once a month the tuned Suzuki’s, Honda’s and Yamaha’s would disregard the local constabulary for thrills otherwise unattainable in London and I’d spend the evenings listening to the engines scream their way to 5 figure revs.

A westward move took me to a seemingly quieter spot, until I realised how much noise the taxis and commuter cars make thumping their way over the speed bumps lining our leafy suburb road in order to take advantage of this precious short-cut. Imagine the lub-dub sound of a heartbeat, devoid of romance or emotion and throw in a few squeaky brakes, roaring engines and screeching fan-belts.

A similar sound was enjoyed at my final abode in the city except that this road was a route for out of service buses (faster and more frivolous without passengers) and fast response police cars (tasty BMW 5 series’ in silver) all ruining their suspension on the Satan’s road-work. I must add that the police cars did have the decency to keep their sirens down at night...that is until they reached the main road.

Now I live in a quiet little town and I rarely ever hear a motorbike, bus or police car. As a primarily nocturnal beast I cherish the solitude of night, the absence of human activity...so this would seem perfect for me?

Well, life rarely ever is perfect and so yet again I find myself distracted from my own nothing. This time I’m drawn into the territorial warring and attempted coup d’états by the canine gangs which rule the night. A cease-fire is announced by the 4:30am call to prayer from the mosque when the aggressive barking is broken by harmonious howling...but as usual, the cease-fire never lasts.

Silence is a rare commodity in this country, shouting may often just be normal conversation and in my opinion the great singing ability of Balkan people is extended to dogs as well.