far too much writing, far too many photos

Sleep has not come easily these last days. Both Wednesday and Thursday morning found me awake in the wee hours, unable to fall back to sleep due to repeated showings in the little screening room up in my head of images from the World Trade Center nightmare that fools in the local television news coverage had been thoughtful enough to show over and over and over and over and over. This is part of the reason I rarely watch TV news: they have an ever more excessive tendency to batter the viewer with horrible shit and bizarre, ridiculous punditry. [Note to the television media: meditate upon the phrase 'less is more.' Really. Speaking for this viewer, you'd get more of my time if you would cut the sensationalist horseshit.]

Last night: fitful, restless sleep. Once I finally gave up, rousted myself and got the morning underway, I became aware of strange sounds from down in the street, gradually realized it must be the City of Madrid crew, here once again to strip the posters from the wall across from this building.

The process: a city truck appears, the narrow street gets blocked off to other traffic, a complement of workers scrapes the wall as clean as they can manage before clearing off the rest with high-pressure sprayed water. By late morning, the wall was somewhat clean. Mostly clean. No complete posters remained. (Posters, pre-stripping: a picture of the Mariah Carey Rolling Stone Spanish edition cover — one of the cover stories: ‘Lo Más Salvaje Del Otoño’ (The Wildest of the Autumn); Sauna Men (featuring a photo of a taut, muscular male upper torso); New Order, nuevo disco a la venta (new disc on sale); Telefónica presenta Julio Iglesias en Concierto, Giro 2001 (Telefónica presents blahblahblah in concert, Tour 2001).

And as the day progressed I became aware that the flow of normal life seemed to hold a sense of unreality. Or a sense of deeper reality. Post-9/11 stuff.

I picked up a couple of newspapers and the new Guía del Ocio (Leisure Guide — listings for the arts, restaurants, etc.). There are four main daily newspapers here in Madrid — two off to the right side of the political spectrum (ABC and La Razón — literally, The Reason), a center-right paper, El Mundo (The World), and a left-wing paper, El País (The Country). I stick to El Mundo and El País.

At home, I went through them with my dictionary at hand. Some days are better than others that way — today featured abundant heavy vocabulary, the dictionary saw plenty of action. I found myself wading through articles on weighty subjects with a pretty fair sense of detachment. Columns of words and sentences to be read and comprehended — an academic exercise, more or less. Maybe not an unhealthy thing, considering the text content. But strange.

Worked on writing after that, headed out to a film later in the day. And as I walked the several blocks to the Metro station at Tribunal, I seemed to be seeing the world around me differently. Or experiencing it differently. Or if not differently, more deeply. Or more something — the right words don’t seem to be volunteering themselves here.

Here’s how it all seemed: Everyone was precious. Every individual carrying on their own little life, with their own little concerns, had a luminous quality, a depth and worth that shone out in its quiet way everywhere I looked. And somewhere in that, our essential oneness showed itself clearly. (It may be that it always does, that today I simply saw it more readily, with a touch more clarity, than normal.) I can’t describe it any better than that, will not attempt to.

Spent some time at la Plaza de España, one of the city’s several crossroads — this one over on the west side, a bit to the north of the Palace. (A fine place to watch people.) Then went to a film.

When I returned home around 6:30, someone was already at work with a bucket and brush hanging new posters on the wall across the street.

Life — it just rolls right on.

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