A Firework Display

After living for 18 years in Valencia I still consider myself passing through; a guest who,
although comfortable, doesn’t quite belong here.
One aspect of life that I don’t think I’ll ever understand here is Valencia’s love of fireworks.
So, it wasn’t with a lot of enthusiasm that I agreed to go and see a firework display with my
wife last month.
Parking was a nightmare, and the ensuing argument in the car nearly ended in divorce. “Of
course that space wasn’t big enough for our car”, and “how many times do we have to circle
around before realizing that these parked cars are here for at least the next 3 hours?” Nobody’s
moving. They’re here to stay.
Classical music filled the night air, but why? Why not rap, jazz or soul music? Are events more
cultural if there’s classical music in the background? Are firework displays truly a cultural
experience, like going to an art gallery or a museum?
Here’s a description of the display; Red ones exploded, then white ones, followed by blue ones.
And then, red, orange, blue and yellow ones exploded together in a sort of ‘fireworks Greatest
Hits’. They went ‘pooh, pooh, pock, pock. Wheeeeeeee…blang and then it was repeated. The
same thing again with different colours. I noticed people checking their watches. How much
longer? I checked mine.
Finally, a whole shitload of fireworks exploded together in one huge messy climax. I imagined
the guy controlling the fireworks looking at his watch and deciding he wanted to get home early.
“The football match starts in 20 minutes. I’ll just press this button and explode all the rest of
them together.”
At this point the classical music stopped so that everyone could hear the babies crying and the
dogs barking, frightened to death by the ear-bursting noise of the crescendo.
People clapped and cheered. Were the fireworks coming out on stage to take a bow? Is this the
gunpowder equivalent of the Rolling Stones live?
My wife and I took a slow, an agonizingly slow walk back to the car and then sat in traffic for half
an hour. Well, that was fun. I can’t wait for next year. I wonder what they’ll think of to make it
any different!

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