I left my old apartment a few months ago.
When my partner and I moved into our new place, we were longing for a safe and quiet place. A cocoon where we could rest and relax.
My old apartment was very noisy, being on the ground floor next to the building entrance and the laundry room.
So we were pretty happy to move away from there, into a 4th-floor apartment in a family neighborhood.
One night, as we sat down to watch the television after a long day of work we heard a whistle. And then an explosion sound.
Icelanders have a passion for fireworks. Every year during New Year’s eve, a lot of people buy fireworks and have their own fireworks show. The money from the sales is used to finance the rescuing squad who doesn’t charge for rescues. It has become increasingly controversial but for a few days in January, using fireworks is legal.
I went to the bedroom to look outside the window trying to spot where it was coming from.
It was getting dark. It was one of those summer nights where days are longer. Almost everlasting. It was as if to signal to the neighborhood: it is nighttime now!
I looked at the neighbors across our building and to my surprise, no one was alarmed.
Some were chatting in their living room, some were watching television…
It seems like another reality was playing just a few meters away from us.
Suddenly, I spotted a flicking light on the left side of that building.
It flew in the air at a crazy speed and exploded in the sky. It sounded like a bomb.
I was so pissed. Why would they dare to do this to us?
It was past 10 pm on a weekday. People were sleeping and had to wake up early the next morning. People didn’t want to get startled.
After a few more, some daring neighbors went on their balconies inquiring about what was going on. But they couldn’t see anything from their point of view.
The perpetrators seemed to be teenagers; laughing and drinking and riding scooters. We could trace their every movement from the sound of their engines.
Where did they get the money for fireworks I wondered.
I felt angry. We were trying to get by. We were trying to make ends meet when idle people were taking our peace of mind away from us. We were not able to enjoy the place that cost us so much. (Rents are crazy expensive in Reykjavík).
As I was turning my head to the other side, I noticed the landscape; we are lucky enough to live with the view of the mountains.
I lived for 15 years in Paris. There, everyone looks for a view on “la Tour Eiffel”. If you have a place with views on the Eiffel Tower, it considerably increases the property value.
I never thought I would live close to nature with the view of the mountains and a park while being next to the sea. The sounds of seagulls, wild geese, and children playing replaced traffic sound from Paris.
As I looked across the park I saw the most beautiful sunset: with hose of blues, yellows, and reds over the trees and the church Áskirkja. It looked so majestic and peaceful.
It was the kind of landscape you would ruin by trying to photograph it. You just had to enjoy it for the quick moment it lasts. I realized how lucky I was.
A few other fireworks shook the window I was leaning on and I was reminded of the situation.
I couldn’t ignore the sound of it. I felt tired and powerless. Unmotivated. Like I was waging a war I already lost. I thought about calling the police but by the time they would come, if they came, they would have already left.
Then trying to focus on the serenity of the scenery, I thought: “I cannot control what is happening. I cannot control someone else’s behavior. I cannot stop what is happening. I have to accept the chaos of the world.”
Even if there are rules and common sense, people will do as they please. I had to accept that life was a bit more unsafe now. People will continue to ignore the 2 meters rule or the wear-a-mask-rule. And I couldn’t fight it. And I couldn’t be angry about it. There was no point in it.
At that time, I had stayed inside my apartment for 20 days straight. I didn’t set a foot outside.
I was so afraid that I stayed home, cleaning, becoming increasingly OCD, trying to control the disorder, and feel safe. In vain…
It was time to go out. It was time to accept that I couldn’t control everything. I couldn’t control the spread of the pandemic. I had to let it go. I could at least control my behavior and be responsible. But I had to start living again while accepting the chaos around me.
The next day, I took a walk with my partner and it was the best day in a long time.
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