Recently, we were introduced to Carlos, who lives across the street. Carlos runs un reciclaje de metales, a metal recycling business. Some days, all is quiet on Carlo’s eastern stoop. Other days, he is going to town—wailing on something with a mallet or a buzz saw or some other bang-y implement. And the best part? He really likes his 80’s dance music. As in: muy, muy mucho.

The other day as we ate lunch on the roof, he began to serenade the neighborhood with a hit parade of 80’s hits, his sub woofers cranked to the max. As we found ourselves absently tapping our feet along with the songs, I suddenly stopped, mid-sentence. “Can you hear that?” I asked Tor. “Hear what?” He asked. “That!” I said, poking the air. “Listen … he’s hammering in exact time with the music.” And sure enough, as we listened more carefully we could hear the pace of his clanging change perfectly in time with the music, sometimes even hammering out syncopated sixteenth notes in the space of the longer ones. Just to be—fancy? To fulfill his secret dream of being a drummer for Rush? We had to laugh. To us, it was a delightful discovery.

We could be annoyed by Carlos. We could be outraged at what would most certainly be considered “sound pollution” in most neighborhoods in the US. But here in la colonia, as with a lot of things, it just becomes another part of a very colorful landscape ...