far too much writing, far too many photos

Yesterday morning: found myself awake early. Expecting, I think, a resumption of Friday’s molar-rattling construction noise. Got up, did the shower/shave thing. Heard the workers climbing the stairs, shouting back and forth. Then they surprised me by disappearing into the flats being torn apart/rebuilt, closing the doors behind them — something they did not seem to want to do on Friday. They’re currently working down at the far end of the building now, the simple doors-closing muffled most of the destructo-soundtrack, producing a morning of relative peace and tranquility. (For which I gave thanks.)

I celebrated by pulling on workout gear, heading out for a fast visit to the gym. Passed the workers’ foreman out in the street, said a friendly hello, got a friendly hello in return.

Stumbled into the gym, only half-awake. Stepped back out into the street a while later, happy I’d gotten the morning’s suffering out of the way and could now go about getting contentedly caffeinated. Morning clouds had thinned, revealing skies of a certain kind of deep, magnetic blue, a color that attracts my attention as soon as it enters my field of vision, my gaze turning upward, a smile immediately taking form on my silly face.

Got home (the doors to the flats under construction remained closed, I gave thanks all over again), changed clothes, went out to mail off my last Christmas card. The neighborhood estanco (tobacconist) functions as the local micro-post-office, the friendly, heavyset 40ish woman behind the counter weighed the envelope I handed over, pulled out the correct stamp, accepted my money.

I mentioned that this was my final card for the Christmas season, she said that so far this year she’d hardly received any snailmail cards and didn’t expect to receive many more — most seemed to be coming by email and cellphone. I’ve done the email Christmas card thing in recent years and liked it, but had never heard about seasonal greetings by phonemail. She and I and the woman behind me in line spent a few minutes going on about it, getting a charge out of the idea of answering the phone and receiving a singing Christmas card.

Found a mailbox, dumped the card, did the caffeine thing, got on with the day.

This morning brought sunshine, blue December skies and quiet, nearly deserted streets. The kind of quiet the barrio experiences on holidays, in this case el Día de la Constitución (a document still only 27 years old, the country’s political anchor after centuries of turbulent history, decades of dictatorship). Good conditions for a walk, passing through the city center as it slowly come to life.

This morning around the barrio: posters, more posters, and a set of cheery figurines aimed at a small, select target market (not my cup of espresso,
but to each their own):

Madrid, te quiero.

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