The Firecracker (La Petarda)

(Dealing with explosives, Medellin – 12/10/2018)

-‘You are like a firecracker. Making lots of noise but with no substance behind. Just annoying.’

That was my mental message to her every time I had to come across. She was a particularly irritating type. Typical millennial acting as the only thing in the universe was herself. Her boyfriend was just a quiet satellite orbiting around her. I tried not to get triggered, just to let her go. But what I was doing instead was to feed my passive aggressive side. Not good, I know

We were sharing a flat. So the communal areas were places were we were not alone, and our actions had an impact.

I could not understand the logic of her actions: removing the legs hair in the lounge, front of everyone. Or going through the place listening loud one of the American news channels…. listening to the same thing all over and over.

That made me think you were American….. The typical loud one. The one that can’t bear the silence. There is a type of American citizen like that. A person that needs to create or be surrounded by constant noise, because they can’t stand their own conscience and opted to bombard themselves with constant buzz to silence it.

Don’t get me wrong. All of us in the western world are doing that as well, but Americans are doing it to a greater extent. What is it with us, western world humans, that we can’t bear the silence?

Her need of being surrounded by noise was beyond comprehension. Like cooking a meal at 2am while loud listening to those news or any other American show. Unable to grasp that perhaps she is not alone, and that at 2am people sleep. The next morning you would find the dishes not cleaned from the night before. Probably she decided not to clean to not disturb our rest. What a kind gesture…….

Loud voices any time of the day or the night, meals cooked in the fridge for days getting spoiled, not replacing the toilet roll when finished…. Everything was an exercise of strong impact with no considerations for the others. An unnecessary overbearing presence: what a firecracker is.

So I decided to talk to you. Yes you, the annoying type, just to make you aware of the basic: that other people were around you. But I was told by the management the you were leaving the day after tomorrow so I thought that most pragmatical thing to do at this point was to let it go.

I was cooking my lunch and ready to eat when you and your boyfriend came in with street food. You guys sat in the table just minutes before I was going to do so. In a twist of fate, on your last day, I was set to share the table and eat with you.

Obviously the beginning of our meal together was frosty. You were, again, listening to that annoying news channel. I made a comment about it, could not be quiet. I thought it was unpolite to force everyone to listen that. So the conversation started.

I don’t know when and how, but when I wanted to realised, we were embarked in a very interesting and rewarding conversation. You were not american, but swiss. Your background, what you have done, your work for humanitarian agencies, what is going on with global conscience….. were topics that resonated and went well with my sabbatical experience. Likewise, you found my story very interesting and enriching.

Our conversation extended longer than the meal. I learnt new interesting things about how these humanitarian agencies work. And also realized that I was grumpier that I should have been. My passive aggressiveness blew things bigger, enhancing hostility instead of friendliness.

I was very pleased we had to sat down and eat at the same time with them so we could chat. So I could change my perception on her. I apologized (in my inner will) from my passive aggressive behaviour. That only damages me, no one else. So I should be kinder to myself.

There were 24h more to your departure. Relieved from my negative attitude, I thought I made peace with the whole situation. And in a way I did. But couple of hours later, it came back. I still think you are noisy, that you create unnecessary level of noise and disturbance.

Just that knowing the kind of person you are, I can tolerate it better. Turns out that when we step outside our ego and connect with the others, things are different than the image our ego created. However, there is still a bit of firecracker material in you, my dear. No one is perfect. I am Mr Grumpy.

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