far too much writing, far too many photos

In recent weeks, my nighttime hours have been packed with dream activity. All sorts of adventures and carryings-on, all night long. Not a whole lot of it comes back with me to my waking state, I remember enough to know a lot’s been going on.

Last night, I drifted in and out of sleep (the streets here in the barrio were alive with the sound of happy revelers all night long, literally until 8 a.m.), slipping back and forth between finding myself here in my bed and finding myself in other places, journeying. Buses, planes, cars, lots of people around. Just before I woke up a short time ago, as daylight was breaking here in Madrid, I was in the middle of traveling with a very nice woman, the two of us on a bus together. The kind of bus you ride at airports. We were both standing in the bus, both with a piece of wheeled luggage, talking to each other. The bus stops, we get out on a concrete path that heads up a gentle hill and down the other side. As we walk up the hill, a black cat darts out onto the path ahead of us, pausing there, its tail up in the air. I pause to say hello, stroking it, its rear elevating a bit in happy response, the cat looking at me, enjoying a quick encounter with a human. It then takes off and we continue on, over the hill to a road where we head toward a parked car, along with a third person, a male we apparently know. As we’re nearing the car I start singing:

Ain’t superstitious, but a black cat crossed my trail.

Well, I ain’t superstitious, but a black cat crossed my trail.

I wish I knew the last line to this verse.

I remember the other two people looking at me, smiling, the male just reaching the car.

And with that I woke up, the Jeff Beck version of “I Ain’t Superstitious” floating through my thoughts, over and over, and has remained so through the day (alternating with “We Are The Champions” by Queen, which was on the telly when I went to lunch at la cafetería Vivares). Me still not remembering the last line of that verse (or of the second verse, for that matter) until I finally tracked it down on the net.

Well, I ain’t superstitious, but a black cat crossed my trail

I ain’t superstitious, but a black cat crossed my trail

Don’t dust me with no broom, babe, just might land in jail

Well, the dogs be howling all round my neighbourhood

Dogs be howling all round my the neighbourhood

Sure is a bad sign, babe, don’t mean no earthly good

(Lyrics and music by Willie Dixon – © 1963)

When I pulled myself out of bed, the sky was mostly overcast. It quickly burned off, except for high hazy clouds through which has filtered strong February sunlight. The kind of day that looks nice and mild until you get out there and find out it’s actually *^%#@!!! chilly, with a cold breeze nosing around that makes everyone pull their coats more tightly around themselves.

As I walked around in the middle of the late Saturday a.m. bustle, I realized that this is my favorite part of the week: Saturday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The one block of weekend daytime hours when people everything’s open and the streets fill up with people getting errands done before the 2 o’clock closing time. People move freely through the streets, in and out of stores of all kinds, from neighborhood grocery jobs to hardware stores to pharmacies to clothing stores of all kinds, and everything in between. Cafes and corner joints are hopping with folks getting café and something to eat. Bakeries do big business. The sidewalks are aswirl with people striding along, carrying bags, often with baguettes sticking out the top.

I picked up a couple of baguettes myself at a neighborhood bakery that makes delicious tender ones which actually last a couple of days instead of hardening up after a few hours. Then grabbed a newspaper and a cup of morning café. After which I walked for a while, winding up out on Gran Vía where I made the error of going into Madrid Rock, my venue of choice for music purchases.

More and more CDs lately seem to be available at heavily discounted prices, and they’re moving. Could be that the music industry here has finally absorbed the fact that the soaring, rapacious prices (17-21 euros per undiscounted CD) are a great deal of what’s responsible for the vibrant health of the black market counterfeit CD sales in Madrid. The store swarmed with Saturday shoppers, many there in groups, chattering as they drifted through the aisles. Back in the bargain section, a 20-something Spanish guy riffled through rows and rows of titles, a stack of 12 or 14 discs in hand (heavy on the Jethro Tull), deliberating at great length, pausing every couple of minutes to go back through what he had.

I recently heard something on the radio from a band called Sexy Sadie, and saw that all their CDs were heavily marked down, including their brand new release, and decided to take a chance on the new one. At the register, I found that the purchase included a free pass for two people to an upcoming Madrid concert by the band, which made me insufferably happy.

It remains a beautiful day here. Most tiendas have closed for the weekend, the streets are quieter, more tranquil. A good time to head out and see what diversion there is to be had.


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