Two Saturdays ago, I woke up to a dawn broken by singing. This sounds much more picturesque than it actually was. But at the sound, I carried my cup of coffee onto the terrace and leaned my elbows on the railing to enjoy it.
Two Saturdays ago was also the next-to-the-last Saturday of Madrid’s curfew. For months we’ve had to be off the streets between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Since dinner usually starts about 9:30, this can really cramp a Madrileño’s style. When I looked down into the narrow canyon of the street at 6:30, the singer, who’d clearly waited out the curfew out somewhere and was finally on her way home — stood in the middle of the street, arms outstretched.
A young woman with a lovely voice, she was also what is southern-colloquially known as snot-slinging drunk. Yo quiero fiesta! she belted out operatically and then started to make her wavering way up the street. Turns out, she lives in the apartment building across the street from us: it took her two or three minutes to fit her key into the lock of the lobby door.
The Lord God looks after fools and children.
Last Saturday was the final curfew. The national State of Alarm, which allowed restriction of movement (and is the reason we haven’t left the Madrid province in months), was set to expire at 12:00 a.m. Sunday. Newspapers were referring the hour between 11:00 p.m., when you had to get home, and 12 a.m., when the curfew stopped and you could go back out again as La Hora Fantasma (The Ghost Hour).
The future of the Asturian restaurant that opened on our street a month ago looked grim — until they built a terrace in front of the restaurant, replacing parked cars with cafe tables being a new Covid-era city policy. Now the restaurant does a booming business. On Saturday night, promptly on the dot of 11:00, a group of young guys stood up from their table and started down the street, singing about buena suerte. A cascade of fireworks went off in the distance.
Of course, just because the State of Alarm is over doesn’t mean Covid is. Although things seem to be trending the right direction. The 80-year-olds are finally vaccinated; the 70-year-olds, too.