Mornings now are like the autumn of my arrival: cool, suggestive, empty and full.
This park has become a sacred place for me, a pilgrimage.
Year 1: I sat here and wrote lists. Reasons to wake up. Things to do before dying.
Year 2: I wrote a poem in Spanish, using words I’d learned in bed.
Year 3: I zoomed my way North on a city bike, promising JC that our destination was fairy-tale-esque. Everything had changed, though. We could hardly move for selfie-taking couples and fresh-faced parents balancing new babies on tree-limbs. A field of Instagrammable branches, an intro to social media for infants. The smell of roast chicken wafting about Quintana made me happy to be alive, anyway, and we didn’t take any photos.
Year 4: I broke a month-long alcohol fast with a tiny bottle of beer and a few gulps of wine. We played word-games, which bring out the best and the worst in me. The sun hid itself away and reappeared when it wanted to. Things were better without the blossoms.
I think this decade will be cute, even though everything is on fire and egomaniacs are ruling the world. I feel like I’ve got my priorities straight and my ass on right, at least.
A friend recently recommended “The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity” to me, so that will be my first project of 2020. I’m cheap but I also, like the rest of the adult world, probably need semi-extensive therapy. So, this is it.
After reading chapter one, I sort of feel like Julia Cameron wouldn’t mind if I went to bible study. There’s a lot of God talk going on. Nevertheless, Martin Scorsese endorses it and, regardless of how you feel about her particular brand of self-discovery, so does Elizabeth Gilbert.
For those like me–uncomfortable with hippy-dippy shit and the suggestion that your ego might not be serving you as well as you’d like to believe it is, I suspect this book might be difficult to digest at times, but whatever. It’s definitely going to be more productive than psychoanalyzing Trisha Paytas.
Las salinas: where the flamingos live. It smells sulphuric and, in some parts, looks like snow. I felt at peace here. I also wished for an ancient man to saunter out of the abandoned saltworks — to no avail.
El Mar Menor: “Large pond.” “Small sea.” “Lagoon.” At its deepest, it doesn’t surpass seven meters. It’s warm, concerningly so, like bath water, and determined to remain beautiful despite the buckets of sunscreen floating through her.
Playa Paraíso: Equal parts Spaniard & Brit and so humid that you will be wet whether you are in or outside of the water.
In few words: it is the city I never knew I needed.
In more: This month is hands down Spain’s best kept secret and these are the reasons why:
There are actually seats on the metro. That means that you can easily escape both unsavory body odors and screaming infants.
Grocery shopping is no longer a fight against stressed-out parents, guiris, and self-righteous abuelos*. It is a luxurious experience, in which one can ponder lemons and compare pastas without being pushed. *I love my elders, but they cut in line all the time.
Temperatures are way more comfortable than they were in July. Think: going from suffocating in Satan’s armpit, to dancing nude on the tippy-top of Jesus’ index finger.
Lavapies and La Latina have street parties. That means that you may see any combination of the following: full-on suckling pigs roasting next to the post-office, men dressed like lady chulapas and dancing chotis, a gypsy selling melons from a wheelbarrow with the following invitation: “wow, I have huge melons here,” and more.
The sunsets are sexy as fuck. Sunrises, though? No idea. Never seen one.
People seem calmer and more open. As in city-wide blackouts or massive snowstorms, there is a sense of implicit community between those who have stayed behind. –> 6.5. On the flipside, though, some people have just gone completely mad. Yesterday the supermarket security guy was frisking a man and, upon pulling a bottle of rosé out of his pants, began a very intense interrogation which consisted of just one question: “you’re hungry for wine, are you? hungry for WINE?” I dont’ know if this is a positive thing, but you won’t want for people-watching at any time in Madrid.
I was sent to the outskirts on an errand on Friday, where I was gawked at by a large man in a straw hat (twice), witnessed one fight, observed three oldies gossiping in front of neighborhood graffiti, and then reluctantly returned to posh-ville.
Suspicion re-affirmed: I’m not made for the office life, and you probably aren’t either.