Across the globe, balconies have become a symbol of social spirit. Many dragged themselves to their balconies to ease the loneliness, express their gratitude, and find company from the safety of their homes since the beginning of the quarantine. Where I live is the complete opposite. Architecturally, residences in my area are of stark contrast: A bungalow with roosters cackling 24/7 sits beside a three-story building enclosed like a fortress, which is in turn neighbored by a sari-sari store that used to be the front of a brothel. Just because there’s so much time to spare, I began to imagine how it would be like if I lived in a neighborhood as a balcony city.
The Karaoke Belter
In Turin, Italy, residents witnessed a first in their neighborhood: Singer Federico Sirianni and harpist Federica Magliano performed a balcony concert put plenty of restless hearts at ease.
I think the Rodriguez family across ours would have brought out their karaoke machine and cranked up the volume for the whole street to hear. Mr. Rodriguez would be belting out, “Hey Jude” and it will be “Top of the World” for his wife, and “Thinking Out Loud” for junior. I don’t think they would ever be asked to be noontime show guests but hey, everyone’s singing along.
The Fry Cook
Virtual dates are a daily occurrence around the world. Meals shared in front of screens, toasts done glasses to phones. Some would even have their dinners in balconies.
We have a neighbor, Mrs. Santos, who always liked to fry food. With the whole building permeated by its smell, which would last hours and would induce unsolicited hunger each time I leave my windows open. Often, he cooks dried squid. Sometimes, it would be tilapia. Her affinity for frying has tempted me to gift her with a bag of Japanese breadcrumbs. I haven’t got the time to do it. People would knock on her door, asking for help if she ever used her balcony to cook.
The Labada Queen
Who could forget about those who continue to use their balconies for household work? Can’t be bothered by the singing, the saxophone playing, or the DJ playing with banged-up speakers and so much underwear to be washed.
A few floors up Mr. Rodriguez, Mr. Bautista obsessing about laundry. I admire him for being a modern man, accepting that the washing machine isn’t a mere woman’s tool. It is in fact, an appliance that knows no gender. Not a day goes by that his balcony won’t be filled with clothes hanging from every corner. Onesies fit for a toddler, dresses the size of a teenager’s, and scrubs that I would assume was his wife’s. She’s barely home nowadays, I once saw her at the wee hours of the morning entering their premises. Sleep doesn’t come easy these days. Staring out on our empty street at dead o’ clock’s become a hobby.
Then there are the others
The frustrated artist who has been painting the same still life for the last three weeks, the pensive millennial who parades a pen and notebook, and what looks like a glass of whiskey or iced tea (?), the chain-smoking lovers who seem to spend as much time on people-watching as I do.
The roosters cackle. The smell of danggit fills the air, and I just remembered that the plants need watering.
Mona Mansfield is one of the main contributors of raw and unfiltered thoughts here at Filter No Filter. She also specializes in SEO and social media marketing.