Screaming & Yelling: #EstoNoEsNoruega

Last week I had two separate being-yelled-at incidents. Definitely not the way we get our frustration out in Norway; we are more of a passive-aggressive bunch.

Incident 1: I am working quietly at home one morning when there is a knock on the door. I ask who it is, and it is Maria Rosa, an older lady in the building. I open, not sure what to expect. I had heard from others that she could be a little aggressive, but had so far only exchanged hallway greetings with her. This turned out to be something different… She marches in and starts yelling at me about the bedroom air conditioner and how it drips on the balcony of the lady on the ground floor. First I am perplexed by why she would come to complain about someone else’s problem, but I have come to realize that she just gets involved in everything. She is yelling and almost foaming at the mouth. “You sure use the AC a lot!!” I tell her calmly that the neighbour in question has come to talk to me before, she specifically asked me not to use the AC on weekend days, because it drips on her balcony (I am on the sixth floor, she is on the ground floor.) She wants me to fix it, but I have passed the issue on to my landlady. I pay I steep premium for this being a temporary rental, and I very much feel that it is not my responsibility. The landlady in turn tells me to use the AC all I want, and she says she is trying to get someone but that it is difficult. Hm… How hard can it be to get an AC repair guy? Anyway, I do use the AC every night, because my apartment is sweltering. I feel kind of bad about it, but interestingly, all my Argentine friends think I am in the right.

Mrs. Self-appointed building manager then went on to yell to me about giving the key to someone else. As with all non-doorman buildings in Buenos Aires, there is no way to buzz people in – you need to go downstairs to let them in AND to let them out. So if I have friends visiting, either just for a meal or to stay for a few days, I do give them the key if they need to go get something. It gets really old to let people in and out from the sixth floor! Anyway, apparently that was a huge faux pas and she thought that she would be robbed by my friends. Dear Lord! As a good Norwegian I really just got tongue tied and apologized profusely. If I had been a good porteña I would have yelled back but I don’t have it in me  yet!

Incident 2: This happened only a few days after. I was in a taxi with two participants from a conference I had been contracted to organize. We all sat in the back seat and were chatting away, so I didn’t really pay that much attention. However, after a while I realize the taxi driver is taking us for a ride, in the other sense of the word. People are generally quite sceptical to taxi drivers here, but luckily I have not had those kind of experiences before. Anyway, there had to be a first time! I then comment, gently, that it seems we are going in the wrong direction. The driver goes from 0 to 100 in two seconds and starts yelling and swearing like I have never heard before. I will not repeat it here but he called me all sorts of ugly things and I was just flabbergasted. He then proceeded to abruptly stop the car in the middle of the street, gets out, takes all their luggage from the trunk and throws it on the sidewalk, computers and all, while he continues yelling profanities. I am speechless and while an Argentine would not have let this happen without fighting back, I really just wanted to cry! I, stupidly, even tried to give him money – he took that and threw it in my face and called mea $%·$%$% yet again. Then we were left there on a dark street with the luggage strewn around, looking at each other in disbelief. After a while another taxi comes by and helps us load everything. Then, the car doesn’t start. We assure him we don’t even care, we are happy as long as there is no shouting and cursing! After a while he has to go out and push the car but is able to make it go. I feel horrible that our Mexican friends left Buenos Aires like that… And no, I did not get the license or anything like that, I just didn’t have the presence of mind to write it down or take a photo. Oh well!

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4 Responses to Screaming & Yelling: #EstoNoEsNoruega

  1. Ouch! Sorry that you got caught in the line of fire. You are a good person, and the only comfort you can take is that these “yellers” are not singling you out – I am sure their personalities get in the way of all of their transactions with everyone. Glad that you are safe. I think I would have reacted just as you did.

  2. El Queso says:

    I wonder if the woman in your #1 Incident might be the head of the building’s concorcio, the resident administration. Or, just plain has a problem with people who occupy the temporary rental. either type loves to stick the nose in whenever they can.

    I had a recent incident of (a somewhat subdued) yelling by the elder woman on the 7th floor of our building, who is the head of the concorcio in our building (much to the chagrin of many residents in our building, who at least can be blamed for having elected her to the position!). And I don’t have a temporary lease 🙂

    I had just exited the elevator into the lobby of our building with our girls (19, 16 and 14) when the woman of note was entering the lobby from the street. We all said “hola” to her as she passed on her way to the elevator, but she didn’t even look at us, much less respond politely. Upon entering the elevator to go up to her apartment, she hollers at me rudely to tell me (certainly not to ask) to never again come down with four in the elevator. She says “it is clearly written here that the limit is three people”. I was so surprised by the vehemence of her barrage that I was speechless. “La amargada” closed the elevator door with a crash and was whisked away, out of our sight without comment by myself.

    Problem is, I know we didn’t exceed the elevator’s limits. The sign actually says “Limit: 3 persons or 250 kilos”. I weight about 110, my 19-year-old 43 kilos, 16-year-old 50 kilos and the 14-year-old a whopping 40 kilos. A total of 243 kilos. How do I know this? I actually was concerned (previously) about messing up the elevator and had done the calculations because we often go out at the same time and it’s a pain to take the elevator twice! It’s an old elevator and I didn’t want to cause problems.

    Of course, afterward I thought of what I should have said to her had I not been struck speechless. I have a good friend and business partner who weighs in at about 160 kilos and another that’s about the same weight as I am. Imagine three guys going up in that elevator at the same time and passing the weight limit by some 130 kilos! I felt this strong desire to point this out (after the fact) to the woman the next time I saw her, but have since realized it would all be for naught.

    Sometimes foreigners can indeed be the target of frustration brought on by the stressful lives many Argentinos live, and we often don’t “fight back” the way their fellow countrymen would!

    • No, she is not the head of the consorcio, I checked! And I see the encargado and others very tired with her as well, plus I hear her yell at others – so at least it is not just me! 🙂

      Oh and your neighbor was very rude!! True, we dont fight back the same way – others in the building probably would have yelled back!

  3. Pingback: Statistics: My most read posts | Noruega en Argentina

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