Yesterday morning, I spent an hour or so sitting in the sun, drinking café con leche and discussing AstraZeneca with a group of women all here in Madrid because of their husbands’ jobs.
(For those of you playing along at home, what we call shots, people in the U.K. call jabs. Also for those playing along at home, in foreign service and military families, this particular state of statelessness is called being a trailing spouse, a phrase that always makes me think of toilet paper draggled from a shoe.)
Tomorrow is another saints’ day, the advent of yet another long holiday weekend when we can’t leave the Community of Madrid. If we could leave, maybe we wouldn’t want to, but human nature being what it is, the fact that we can’t go anywhere else feels particularly chafing.
(To put things another way: we may have the stately boulevards, the Spanish sun, the café, all very nice, but what we don’t have is the vaccine.)
Then, last night, I dreamed that I was enjoying a lovely wilderness and was suddenly full of consternation because I’d forgotten my mask.
I cannot tell a lie: I woke up grumpy.
My daily walk usually takes me through the park, but this morning, when I saw the way the long low line of the Guadarrama mountains lay against the sky, I decided to head for higher ground instead.
As I passed a bazaar, as the five-and-tens where you can buy everything from potholders to plants for your balcony are called, I saw its proprietor had wired lemons to the lemon trees out front in a sort of aspirational advertising.
A little further on, a juggler in full mime makeup was tossing tennis balls at the traffic light. An old man was walking a tiny lapdog carrying a pinecone in its mouth.
And there, at the crest of the hill behind the hospital, where the makeshift shrine to the Virgin Mary stands, someone was doing tai chi.