Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Groundhog Day

Every day, at the exact same time, the exact same event occurs outside my house. It is what I wake up to on a daily basis. At precisely 5 A.M., a mobile bread vendor drives by outside my house. For some reason, the dog that lives across the street takes exception to this and starts barking insanely. Unlike all of the other dogs in my area, this dog's bark is a high shrill that sounds as if he/she is being stabbed repeatedly. The same dog does not bark at the odd car, motorbike or other street vendor going by before or after. This has been baffling me for some time to the point that I'm almost obsessed with it.

The passing bread vendor is known as Sari Roti. As I've mentioned before, each vendor has their own unique noise or song. Sari Roti has a song that goes something like...
This little tune repeats itself endlessly throughout the day. There are numerous other vendors going by around the same time but their melodies don't seem to bother the dog in question.

What's even more astounding than the dog's reaction is that the Sari Roti vendor passes my house at EXACTLY 5 A.M. every morning, not a minute sooner or later. Jakarta is not what you would call a punctual place, you are hard pressed to find 2 clocks in the same building that are synchronized. Generally, most scheduled times are an -ish time, never precise.

Some mornings, I am tempted to get up to see if it is actually the same Sari Roti vendor driving by at 5 A.M every day but I am too lazy. From that time until the late morning, there are dozens of other Sari Roti vendors that drive by but the dog doesn't bark at them, only at the 1st one. By listening, I have deduced that the bread vendor is not stopping at or near the house the dog lives at. This would explain why the dog barks. It has gotten to the point where I sometimes inadvertently wake up at 4:58 A.M in anticipation of the event to come. A few minutes after 5, I realize that I have another hour or so to sleep and am grateful for that.

My first memory of each and every day has been the EXACT same for weeks now; the Sari Roti song followed by the adjacent dog's painful howl. I'm starting to feel like Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day where he wakes up to the exact same song and speech on the radio every morning.

If for some unexplained reason, this event does not occur one morning, I am going to take it as an omen that I should stay in bed because the world has tilted off it's axis. How can precision clockwork occur right outside my door in a city that nobody would ever in their wildest dreams dare to describe as precise?

Does anybody actually buy bread at 5 A.M anyways?

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