The Life and Times of an Unpromiscuous Urban Streetwalker

I’d like an explanation. I’d like an explanation soon. I’d like a remedy, as well, and perhaps a tube, stick, or compact of industrial strength, Cirque Du Soleil/Christina Aguilera-strength cover up.

I do realize that I just barely finished a glowing paean to Madrid in the spring time, but I have one beef with this city, spring or no. This beef I have has been a-simmering somewhere deep within my non-beef-lover’s gullet for months now, but the frustration I’ve experienced because of it is associated with the most lovely Spanish time of the year–Spring. Why? Well, let’s build a little meterological equation, shall we?

Spring = rain; rain = wet streets; apparently, in Madrid, wet streets = necessity for ice skates or mountaineer’s cleats.

This equation brings us to Urban Street Calamity 1.

Today marks not the first, nor the second, nor even the third time I have spilled undelicately to my knees or ass in the middle of a busy Madrid street due to slick walking. It is the fourth time today–the fourth time–I have fallen and I have two ravishing bruises adorning both of my knees to show for it. Calle Maravillas seems safe enough–lots of pedestrians, people walking their dogs, a florist, for chrissake–but in swift Spring showers such as we sustained this afternoon it turns very lethal, very quickly. I, sweaty and euphoric and monumentally jacked-feeling after a super workout, was no match for the danger of Calle Maravillas.

I don’t understand why, but in the rain, the pavers that comprise Madrid’s sidewalks turn absolutely Vaseline-slick and, no matter what kind of foot gear I’m wearing, I fall. Apparently my sneakers are no match for this stone. One moment I was checking out the crowd outside of Pizza Maravillas and the next I was on the ground, water bottle careening with a thunk into the wet sand of the adjacent playground, staring at said slippery-ass pavers, feeling my knees throb against stone. What the FUCK, I ask, are these streets made of? I have two possible theories:

1) Madrid sidewalks may actually be constructed of soapstone, explaining their slippery nature when Mother Nature just adds water.
2) The vast quantity of olive oil used in Spanish cookery splatters up out of the surrounding apartments in an aerated form to fly out the window, through the air, and settle finally upon the city sidewalks, creating resultingly slick footing.

Number two is far more likely.

The second Urban Sidewalk Calamity I experienced occurred last week when I was playing hookie from the gym and the Gods of Fitness (or so I choose to believe) accordingly punished me.

I was clad in my new Super Skirt, purchased for 5.90 at H&M and sporting a riot of purple, yellow, fuchsia and teal flora. Said skirt is well above the knee and of the type with the wide elastic yoke at the top that abruptly expands into abundant, billowy, little-girl’s-tea-party like dimensions from mid-hip downward, rendering it above reproach despite its short length. It is my new stand in for the shorts which I so love, but cannot wear in Spain without accruing a troubling number of “madre mías!’ and sinister, disgusted looks from old people of all persuasions.

ANYHOW: Clad in said skirt, I ran errands. I grocery shopped a bit, stopped to buy a new watch, and ran by the pharmacy to pick up a box of band aids for my summer shoe blisters. It was extremely hot and I, underslept and dreamy (also quite possibly dehydrated), lazily waited for the walk light to turn green on Fuencarral, my destiny Carrefour for some pita bread. When the light finally turned, I strolled comfortably across the cross walk, veering at the end of my trajectory off of the white and black pathway. Looking up, as I was, at the remarkably pretty way in which the afternoon sun hit the buildings, I didn’t notice that my ramble would take me across a subway grate set into the street. I didn’t notice that’s what had happened, either, until suddenly, thanks to the updraft of air, my skirt was up around my elbows and everyone walking on Fuencarral was witness to my pale white ass clad in pink and gray mesh panties. What made it worse is that, like today when I had my spill onto Calle Maravillas, no one laughed. Instead, the madrileños looked at me with very serious, perplexed faces as if to say, “What a strange creature you are! to do such a thing! here! Perplexing indeed.” Then, I am disappointed to report, they moved on, and I laughed at myself alone. Laughing at yourself post embarrassing deed alone is not relieving in the way laughing at yourself with strangers post embarrassing deed is. In fact, it just makes you feel like a pathetic crazy. Or at least it did me.

Maybe it’s safer for me to just stay in my room? Surely, there’s less pollen. Nevertheless–soon I will venture out for Thai and to meet new people! Whee!

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