far too much writing, far too many photos

One morning more than a week ago, a city truck pulled into the plaza down the street from here, the crew spent an hour or two stringing up wires — the first small warning that the holiday season is slowly approaching. The smallest of warnings, really, a gentle, transient blip on the local radar screen — they’re far more restrained here than in the States when it comes to rolling out the holiday frufru. The lights that will hang from those wires won’t appear until late November, won’t get turned on until early December. But the calendar entries are slipping past, as they do — the warm season is slowly releasing its grip on this part of the world.

Speaking of which: a few days back, autumn crept in. I don’t mean a gentle transition, temperatures gradually sinking lower. I mean something a bit ruder, a big jolting change sneaking in under cover of night. Stepping out the door in the morning meant immediate immersion in cold, almost frigid air, an unfriendly breeze blowing. A shock to my still-sleepy system, my hands immediately fumbling at the zipper of my jacket in panicked reaction.

Not really that big a deal, I know — just unexpected, taking more than just me by surprise. Suddenly cold-weather coats and jackets were everywhere, people grumbled about the fallen temperatures in local eateries.

And speaking of local joints: something I love — moments of no real import passed in places like that. Banal moments, of no real note apart from their simple pleasure.

This morning: sitting in the bar at one of my morning haunts, sipping a cup of pretty decent espresso, working on a barrita con tomate (a small baguette, toasted, with olive oil and a kind of tomato salsa), reading the paper. The place less than half full, conversation happening around me. The radio playing in the background (Springsteen right then, “Brilliant Disguise”) along with the sounds of the high-tech slot machines found in many local joints (tragaperras), a 50ish woman standing at one, its lights flashing, cycling through various sound clips. The sound of coins pouring into a tray, the woman apparently on a winning streak.

When I stepped outside, the streets were beginning to come alive, sunlight angling down, people walking, stopping at newsstands.

Nothing special. Normal. And so sweet.

EspaƱa, te quiero.

2 Responses to “chilly, simple pleasures”

  1. mad

    You must be independently wealthy, no job to rush off to? I admire that.

  2. rws

    Independently wealthy?? That sound you just heard was me falling off my chair, choking with laughter.

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