I'm a little cranky today.
My sour mood might have something to do with the fact that, for two consecutive mornings, I've woken up at 5:30 am to fireworks being launched right outside my bedroom window.
Literally. I hear them hissing out of their tubes, see a flash of white through my still-closed eyes, and then -- one-Mississippi, two-Mississippi, three-Mississippi -- there's the giant boom overhead.
I have the rest of the scenario memorized. It doesn't change much day-to-day: The fireworks set off the alarms of seemingly every car parked up and down my block. Then the neighborhood dogs begin to bark and howl in response. The car-and-dog ruckus is soon drowned out by a single white truck that drives down the street with a giant loudspeaker attached to the roof. Then come the lines of musicians belting out live music. (Tuesday's musical stylings were performed by a mariachi band, and this morning's entertainment was acoustic.) There's another lap with the truck. And then, to wrap things up, there's more fireworks. The whole thing takes about 30 minutes. By 6am, I'm able to fall asleep again, only to have my alarm go off an hour later.
(The shoe store across the street, the one with the fantastically annoying talking car, opens up shortly thereafter, making for a peaceful, relaxing start to the day.)
This morning, upon hearing the first firework being launched, I groaned and stirred, sat straight up in my bed, kicked my sheets away in a mini-tantrum, and exclaimed out loud:
¡POR EL AMOR DE DIOS! (FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!)
The ironic thing is, that's exactly the point of this whole crazy sleepless procession.
The fireworks are launched by church folks to make sure everyone's up and at 'em. The truck with the loudspeaker makes laps around the city's downtown district, belting out a prayer, pre-recorded by a woman with what possibly is the most monotone, annoying voice on the planet. (The thing is, the volume's cranked up so loud on the speaker that her voice gets distorted, nixing any possibility of actually understanding the prayer even if you weren't half-asleep and Spanish-impaired.) The musicians sing hymns. There's more prayer via loudspeaker. At the end, there are a few additional rockets, thrown in for good measure.
Now, I've blogged on these types of crack-of-dawn religious progressions before. There was the 4:30 am revelry that marked a celebration for the Virgin of Guadalupe in December. I guess I should consider myself "blessed" that they've decided to push things back an hour this time. But you'll recall that I've since moved, and now I'm a block closer to the "celebration." The noise is so deafening that I hear it even through the hermetically-sealed windows of my new apartment. Yesterday, I even had the foresight to purchase earplugs. But they were no match for the rockets and car alarms and loudspeakers this morning.
Perhaps I'd be more tolerant and understanding if I understood the "point" behind this sudden religious fervor in the streets. But I've been too tired and cranky to muster the interest to ask which saint or virgin or whatever is being celebrated. My equally tired and cranky Mexican roommates are of no help, brushing the celebration off as the work of "crazy Catholics." (For the record, I don't think that Catholics are crazy. But I tend to think that anyone who shoots off fireworks at 5:30 am, regardless of religious affiliation, has a few issues.) And, again, I'll argue that the religious figure in question would likely be just as honored by a procession that takes place AFTER the sun has come up.
Rumor has it that the 5:30 am ruckus will go on every day until July 25. Luckily, I'm heading out of town tomorrow night, home to Chicago for a visit. I have just one more mornings of fireworks to look forward to. After that, it will be back to the Windy City, back to the soothing sounds of garbage trucks, police sirens and drunken Cubs fans fighting outside my window.