I heard an Imam calling the faithful to prayers at five o’clock this morning. I thought that was a bit early or late, depending on your point of view, but then that is the custom here in Morocco. I was transported back to some decennia ago, when I used to live right next to a church.
Now, when I say right next to a church, I mean that my bedroom was about fifty yards away from the bell tower. And these were not iddy biddy tiny bells, these were humongous bastards that fairly shook the life out of you, if they caught you unawares. And if you think that they were wont to ring every hour on the hour, you would only be partially right. They rang every fifteen minutes, day and night for every day of the catholic year and that’s a bloody long year, let me tell you!
I’m quite good with languages and I cursed those bells in just about every language I could think of and then some. I had nightmares about them, luckily short ones, for those blasted bells would save me from them with their annoying clanging every fifteen minutes, remember? BIG brass bells whose reverberations would rattle your very bones and marrow… I looked like a parent with triplets, I looked a mess and I wasn’t even married! Every morning some frightful red-eyed monster would scare the living daylights out of me, when I looked in the mirror… not a pretty sight!
Every year around Christmas I would beg Santa on bended knees to please bring me a bazooka, but he never did. He must have been in cahoots with them, methinks! I thought that this was a bit petty of him. Was this really too much to ask for! I did not ask for a tank… only one little bazooka and he denied me it. *sob!* He thereby deprived me of the joy and privilege of refurbishing the bell-tower of this church to my very own specifications, which is to say bell-LESS!
One day I’d had enough. I started looking in the papers for a flat to let, somewhere as far away from my home town as possible. Anything to get away from those horrible bells. Most of them were too expensive for my humble means, but finally I spotted one that looked right up my, hopefully bell-less, alley. I arranged for a meeting with the estate agent and we soon met up.
Imagine my dismay when the flat in question turned out to be right next to a cathedral, a BIG one. Just when the estate agent showed up, the bells started ringing. I cringed and hunched up one shoulder and I moaned: „The bells, the bells!!!“ This made the man slightly nervous, but he soothed my soul and saved my day by saying that the bells were shut off from 10 pm till 10 am, out of consideration for the neighbours. I was so deliriously happy that I hugged and kissed him. He turned red as a beet and for some inexplicable reason I never got the appartement…
As soon as I got back, I started a petition to copy this very sensible practice of the shutting-off-of-the-bells-at-night, but the deacon turned a deaf ear towards it, probably because of the bells!? I swore then and there to Saint Peter that when my time comes and the bell tolls for me, I ain’t comin’! If he notifies me with some quiet flute music or a nice guitar fandango, I’ll follow as quietly as a lamb, but not for those beastly bells!