Monday, April 23, 2007

Don't blame us

Sunday is botellón day in our neighborhood. Botellón: literally "big bottle"; figuratively: hang out in the streets with your friends and drink yourself silly. It must be a sign of my age, but I hate it--the drunken crowds who make it impossible to walk through the square, the ridiculous bongo players, the kids who set up tables to sell junk (okay, buttons and "jewelry") outside our door. So, every Sunday that I'm in Madrid, I call the police to complain.

During yesterday's conversation, I said, "This happens every Sunday. Is there anything I can do?" And the cop on the other end said, sighing, "We're trying." As if, somehow, the fact that thousands of people show up every Sunday to drink in the streets in flagrant disregard for the law, and, not coincidentally, to piss and vomit and leave trash everywhere was beyond their responsibility.

But speaking of the trash, if you get up early enough on Monday, you'll see it. Great swaths of rum bottles, and cartons of cheap wine, and crushed plastic liters of soda and the odd lemon slice. Then, the cleaning services come in and make it all disappear.

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