far too much writing, far too many photos

Earlier: me out doing the caffeine thing, making the slow swim back to something resembling full consciousness. Sitting in a café, reading the paper, pausing now and then to stare out the window, watch passing people. Of whom there were quite a few, as there generally are in the barrio’s late-morning streets — with a whole different look, though, a product of the long holiday week. Feeling vaguely like Christmas week, part I. Few individuals about in business dress or office worker attire. Most in the normal attire of normal life, many carrying shopping bags.

The local holiday season was already well underway — this week’s two holidays, (el Día de la Constitución and el Día de la Inmaculada Concepción) in combination with lovely weather/mild temperatures, jacked up the energy level in a huge way, bringing everyone out into the streets. I wandered through the city center yesterday evening, discovering that the streets had effectively been taken over by an sprawling ocean of people that spilled out away from the center, the atmosphere big-time festive, any place looking like it had any vague connection with things christmassy mobbed with Spaniards out seeking diversion or reasons to spend money. Now and then a stray car or two tried to make their way through, the drivers wearing the anxious expressions of humans up against something over which they had control, moving along at a snail’s pace, stopping frequently to wait for an opening that might allow them to inch slowly forward.

Yesterday turned out to be a major socializing day, me meeting up first with one friend, N., in the early afternoon down in the La Latina district moving for food, drink, conversation (just us and half the local world), then with another, H., in the evening at a neighborhood café packed with loud, happy Spanish humans, followed by a long phone visit from a friend in the U.K. later on, stretching well on into the evening. Just what the doctor ordered after weeks in which it’s felt like people have gone into hiding, not answering phone calls/email, me finding myself solo far too often, with far too much time on my hands.

N. just bought a small flat here in the city, I offered the use of my few items of furniture during my coming absence. An idea I figured, for some reason, he’d turn down. He not only took me up on it (and so will have custody of my TV, the DVD/VCR, both of my beloved Ikea bentwood armchairs, and some stray lamps), he sprang for most of the afternoon’s food/liquid refreshment. Feeling nicely like my own personal version of instant karma.

Later, sitting across a teeny table from H. in a packed, far too trendy café, I got a fast, incisive sketch of current events. H. is a newscaster for one of Spain’s few national television networks, he does me the favor of talking about Spain and its public figures in a concise, uncensored way. There are some seriously interesting fencing matches happening within the country’s political universe right now, a good part of them centered around what’s called the Estatut, the Catalan government’s attempt to re-frame their autonomy, employing the controversial word ‘nation.’ There’s nothing remotely like this happening in the States, it’s fascinating to be here watching it unfold.

As we got ready to go our separate ways, Christmas came up, me mentioning my love for this time of year. H. theorized that our love/hate/indifference for things yuletide has a direct connection with our childhood experience of the season, a take that might seem obvious to some. Got me thinking about the way my family did Christmas, the holidays of the year’s final weeks being occasions that our clan — a strange bunch with some difficult personalities and tensions at work — rose to the occasion, transcending itself. Could be H.’s theory is right on the money in my case. (Or not. Got me.)

Madrid, te quiero.

Leave a Reply

Proudly powered by WordPress. Theme developed with WordPress Theme Generator.
Copyright © runswithscissors. All rights reserved.