17.1.15

A day in Barcelona


The day started with my neighbours having a fight, shouting. She was crying like a wounded animal. It was 5.30, I had been sound asleep. I live just under their floorboards.

I live in the gallery, in the back of the gallery space there is a spiral staircase. It leads to what I call the cave. An almost 7 square meter space in which I can just stand. There is a bed and a desk. There are no windows. The second morning I woke up and I stared in the dark, not knowing what time it was and I suddenly thought about my father, lying in his coffin in the dark, in his small room. We buried him shortly before the old year ended.

A girl was screaming “madre, madre”. The mother said some things I didn’t understand. They moved their fight to another room. After a while the silence returned. It took me some time to fall asleep again.

Saturday. A sunny day. I went out for a walk, hesitant to wear my suit. I wrote down the quote on this blog from Thoreau, the one I like so much, the one about wearing an old suit because there is no use to buy yourself a new suit until you feel like a new man in the old. When I found that quote, three years ago, I had been wearing the same suit for more than two months, wondering what would be the right moment to take it of. Thoreau handed me a guideline. It had worked then.

But the suit I am wearing now is new. And I am not sure if I have become a new person recently. In fact I came to Barcelona to search for the new. And walking the streets in my suit, on the look-out, I feel like a tourist, sometimes even a business woman. It makes me feel awkward. 
I need my suit to be my soft armour, I need it to shield me from the outside world but also to make me feel part of it. I hesitated. Could I call it a day off from work and wear something else? Or would considering my walking, my being here partly work and partly life undermine my project?

Questions. The answers could wait. I put on my suit. I walked.

I saw a mother undressing her young son so he could pee inbetween the carbage containers. I saw a silver living statue in an alley talking frantically in his phone. I saw leaves in the reddest red on the pavement. I saw people laughing their guts out.

I saw the sea.

When the sun had gone down I checked in with a friend. I adopted a cactus. We walked through Barcelona with two cactuses in our arms. We went in different directions. When I came home and looked at my cactus more carefully I saw how sad it looked. I had adopted the right one.

Eating, writing, thinking. Sleeping. Bouncing against the ceiling at 2.30 when my neighbour decided to raise his voice even more to sing “I did it my way”.

Tomorrow I will try again. The Spanish for trying is “pretender”.

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