“We’re bringing all the happiness to your home, brother”

Osmel Almaguer

HAVANA TIMES, March 27 — I woke up today to blasting music, but it wasn’t coming from my mother’s next door neighbors. Every weekend it wakes up my sister, and now me – since I’m staying in her room while she’s in Venezuela.  In the homes around here there aren’t any sound systems capable of pounding the walls like this music does.

And to top it all off, its reggaeton. This isn’t to imply that I can’t stand that style of music, but it’s a rhythm is too way too loud and monotonous to start the day off.

The music is coming from in front of our house. In the children’s park there’s a huge console, dozens of children playing, a truck selling soft drinks by the jug and a cultural promoter doing what cultural promoters do – trying to liven people, since today is “Culture Day” in the municipality.

But what fault is it of all us surrounding residents? Why impose this racket on us, in addition to the supposed joy that we don’t share?

“Well, the neighborhood is having a celebration,” some visitor or outsider might think.” “In Cuba, people spend the whole year partying, they’re a very happy people,” that same visitor or observer would probably also think.

Egalitarianism (like demagoguery), equitable distribution (like theory), generalization (like politics) and centralization (like obsessive desire) are concepts that apply in this country even in the most unexpected places. This is a tangible example.

Two blocks from here is a huge plaza, perfect for conducting those same activities without disturbing anyone. But no – these have to be done right here on the residential streets. “We’re bringing all the happiness to your home, brother,” those thinkers figured out.

The truth is that now I’m getting a headache, and this promises to extend into the night.

It’s 7:00 in the evening, and after a whole day of this, here at home everyone’s nerves are frayed. The initial scuffles and the first tussles have already started.

This is one of the effects of noise pollution. We’re not an industrialized country, but from what I can see — damn it — we’re only learning the worst parts from them.




Osmel Almaguer:Until recently I would to identify myself as a poet, a cultural promoter and a university student. Now that my notions on poetry have changed slightly, that I got a new job, and that I have finished my studies, I’m forced to ask myself: Am I a different person? In our introductions, we usually mention our social status instead of looking within ourselves for those characteristics that define us as unique and special. The fact that I’m scared of spiders, that I’ve never learned to dance, that I get upset over the simplest things, that culminating moments excite me, that I’m a perfectionist, composed but impulsive, childish but antiquated: these are clues that lead to who I truly am.

2 thoughts on ““We’re bringing all the happiness to your home, brother”

  • You WANT ‘egalitarianism’ and ‘equitable distribution’, fella. And ‘generalization’, for that matter, is part of structuring Reality in the Human mind and society; and ‘centralization’ is not an ‘evil’ in and of itself either, eh? Some appropriate level of it is required at ALL levels…

    No — what you lack there in Cuba, komrad, is a truly democratic society which is not suffering a relentless, decades-long SIEGE on top of it all. You all in your island paradise are just going to have to wait for workers’ socialist revolution to break out in the rest of the World… because too many of you have become simply too jaded in outlook, after years of suffering under a besieged stalinist regime. Too bad, all `round.

  • Why didn’t you just walk over to the park and, respectfully, ask the promoters to turn the music down? Many times during my visits to Cuba, some young person would be outside washing their car for example. While working, they would understandably want to listen to their car stereo. More often than no they would be blasting the music(reggaeton) for the entire block to hear. Moreover, they would park in front of any house they wished, seldom their own, as long as they could find shade, water and room to work. I would ask the owner of my casa particular why no one said anything to this young man about the loud music. She strugged and said it is not what Cubans do. If this were to take place on my block in suburban Los Angeles, every little old lady within blocks would drop by to put in their two cents. Seriously, were you afraid? If so, of what? Here’s my theory: Cubans are so conditioned to accepting whatever situation or circumstance given to them, that the prospect of demanding or just asking for something different seems unimaginable.

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