December 1, 2016 by Cláudia
How a street so busy can become so quiet after walking just a few steps is something I could never get the grasp of. The busy and noisy main road has a small portion which resembles a sound bubble: disrupted only occasionally by an inebriated couple screaming and the compassed sound of the train passing, it’s not infrequent to experience complete silence.
Besides the abnormal quietness, entering my street conveys another contrasting feeling – it’s so windy that it is easily 5ºC colder than anywhere else. Its direction to the Bela Vista park makes the street prone to a strong wind current, which made it earn the nickname of Wuthering Heights. The strong winds coming from Bela Vista’s Park mean that the air we breathe is slightly less polluted than elsewhere, oxygenated by Bela Vista’s green mass grove which also provides us with a beautiful sight (giving a special meaning to its own name).
Its little traffic doesn’t justify the abnormally wide road and therefore there are always two lines of cars parked right in the middle of the street – it’s one of those unwritten but consensual rules shared by our street inhabitants. Apart from having invented extra car spots, all the street’s design is rather extravagant. Its strange quite childish colour palette includes pale pink on one side and yellow, green, blue and pink on the other with stripes, waves and dots. These questionable architectural choices have won a prestigious prize for the architect, however no one can truly understand some of its core elements like the schizophrenic display of triangular, circular, narrow, rectangular, or mullioned windows.
At night, the street is usually completely deserted, except for dog owners somnambulistically walking their dogs and troublemakers using my street as a bridge to the place where they will actually cause trouble. As for the inconsiderate dog owners, one cannot walk without looking down to the minefield of excreta they leave there. Stories of shootings and stabbings fill the street with a mysterious and gloomy ambiance. It conveys a kind of atmosphere that seems to repel families but it is quite enjoyable by a solitary melancholic spirit wandering the streets and getting a type of contentment from the quiet loneliness.
Out of the blue, the scruffy resident beggar, sort of the street’s mascot, will ask for “a little coin, miss, if you can help” and I will give him a euro or two, poor thing. Other times he just passes right beside me looking blindly forward and indignantly discoursing about nonexistent problems. Lately he’s not been mumbling so much and he’s been cutting his hair regularly. He’s doing so much better…