Random Rants (10): Money to burn? There are no unemployed pyrotechnicians in Spain.

I’ve lived and worked in Spain on and off for 16 years now but I still can’t understand why they let off fireworks in daylight. Every day. Every hour (and then all bloody night as well). It can’t just be that they love noise – any noise – surely? I know it’s the ‘Verbena’ firework fiesta on Sunday to welcome in the summer – but it’s still Tuesday midday, and it already sounds like the Wrestlemania Superbowl meets a Michael Jackson Pepsi commercial out there. It’s the same every day. It must be quieter in a war zone. But at least there’s no crisis in the Spanish firework business. There must be hundreds of jobs here in Spain for pyrotechnicians. No qualifications needed. Just a box of matches, flash paper, fuel, titanium and nitrocellulose, and the ambition to make a load of sodding noise. Constantly.

Talking of noise, I went for an ‘Audiometria’ test this morning – just part of a little check-up – which is probably the result of living and working in Spain for 16 years. I had to put on a headset and then the nurse, Montse, told me to raise a hand every time I heard a noise in either my left or right ear. Of course I got the giggles and decided to not raise my hand at all. Montse looked shocked. I could see her mouthing something to me – I think she was asking me if I seriously couldn’t hear a thing. She was about to wheel me off to emergency. So I took the headset off and yelled, ‘WHAT? ¿QUE?Eventually she smiled. I then tried to tell her my favourite joke about the two deaf men in the pub with the ‘LIVE MUSIC TONIGHT’ – but I didn’t know the Spanish term for ‘Country Western’ or ‘some c**t from Preston’, so I don’t think she understood it very well.

According to Montse, however (and despite what others might think), my hearing is absolutely perfect. I have the results in front of me. It says, ‘oido derecho: normal; oido izquierdo: normal’. The machine used was a Sibelmed W50 and I have 0% ‘perdida auditiva’ in both ears – which is why I can hear all the bloody fireworks. Non-stop. In daylight, too.

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