Now I understand how Santa does it. No one could visit every house in the world in one night, it's just impossible. The big man's cutting some corners. He comes to Hungary on December 6th and puts chocolate and presents in the childrens shoes. That's Santa Claus Day, and boys and girls only get their presents if they clean their shoes and put them on the windowsill. Plus, there's something to do with a broom that children are hit with to be punished, but that part went over my head. Around here, you have to know when to let it go.
On December 24th, they are given a big present. But, since Santa is so busy dragging Rudolph around, Jesus helps out. That's right, the spirit of Baby Jesus delivers the Hungarian Christmas presents. I can't be sure, but I'm doubting they leave out milk and cookies for the spirit.
Everyone will be relieved to know that April Fool's Day is alive and well in this country. I have been told of this by my students who, sporting a mischievous look, say that teachers are a prime target. I also learned that Teacher's Day conveniently falls in June, right before the end of the school year. Teachers get gifts on this day, not headaches. The students know which side their bread is buttered on.
I would've slept well last night if it hadn't been for the siren. I live across the street from a large, mysterious building. It's ugly (probably communist built), and has a weird shape that weaves around to hide how big it is. If they were to make a Batman vs the Iron Curtain, it would definitely be a part of the set. I've dubbed it the Food Factory, because it smells like bread is baking late at night. Then, starting around 4 AM trucks and cars start arriving and continue all day long. I think they're loading up on food for stores and restaurants.
There are two annoying parts. First, the cars and trucks around here tend to have very loud engines, even if they're very small. So that's pretty cool in the middle of the night since it's too hot to close my windows. Second, there is an alarm or siren that occasionally goes off. Sometimes it only lasts a few seconds, other times it goes on for minutes.
At 3:15 AM it decided to start blaring it's horrible noise. For over fifteen minutes. To be clear, this is not a quiet siren that is just background noise. It's so loud that the French have been complaining that it's ruining the peace and serenity around the Eiffel Tower. I woke up and waited for it to turn off. Then I waited. And waited some more. Finally I got up and looked out the window. Eventually, a car came speeding up into the loading dock area and a few minutes later the alarm stopped. There must not have been anyone there, and someone had to drive from their house to turn the alarm off. Fortunately, if they live on this side of Berlin they will here it from their bed.
After I thought the incident was over, every police and firetruck in town decided to stop by and see what was going on. But, they worked together and coordinated their efforts. Thus they were able to all arrive at seperate times, and their loud engines could disturb the quiet night for much longer.
I bet they don't have the Christmas carol Silent Night, and instead sing Siren Night. I wonder which day they sing it, the 6th or 24th? Speak of the devil, the siren just turned on. Can you hear it?