Photo by Paul Hart
The absence of doorbells on Brazilian houses is more common than you’d expect. When you come to a house without a doorbell, you have three options for getting the resident’s attention:
- Clap repeatedly
- Yell their name
- Call them from your cell phone to say “I’m here. Open the door.”
Unfortunately, Christian’s parents’ house lacks a doorbell, and is also set way far back from the gate so clapping is not really an option. Not wanting to spend my cell phone credit, I resort to option #2 – but I always feel super self-conscious putting my face up to the gate and shouting “MAINHA!!!” – imagining that I’m disturbing the peace for all the neighbors. It’s even worse when I have to yell two or three times, only to discover that they’re not home.
Well, there’s one kid somewhere in the cluster of houses behind and below mine who doesn’t give up so easily. Several times a week, I hear him yelling something that sounds like:
“TALITA! TALIIIIITA! TALITA! AA! AA! TALITA!”
…over and over. He shouts it like 20 times. I don’t know if it’s someone’s name, or what – but I feel like yelling down from my kitchen window, “DUDE! Either she has a hearing impairment, or she’s not home, or she doesn’t want to see you!”
I sometimes walk home along the street where this occurs, and I’m hoping someday to catch a glimpse of the Talita Kid and find out why he’s yelling.