Wednesday, April 4, 2007

I'm not making this up

Tuesday night. It's about 11pm. I've slipped out to make a few phone calls before calling it a night. The apartment where I'm staying is in the city district known as Triana, which is just across the river from the city center, just on the opposite bank from the bullring. There's a steady crowd of people coming against me, presumably on their way home from one of the many holy week processions I've mentioned in an earlier post. Things are crowded, but not oppressively so, perhaps because of the intermittent rain throughout the evening.

I´m about half-way across the bridge linking the Triana district to the city center when I come across something I definitely haven´t seen before in Seville, or anywhere else for that matter. The bridge is fairly short, and relatively flat. Rather than a stone parapet, the barriers on each side of the pedestrian lanes in both directions, just consist of a continuous iron railing, with vertical bars maybe every 15 inches or so. Just in front of me is un caballero who appears to be - no he can't possibly be - ¡yes, he is! - let me put this in Cathtillian - piththing into the Guadalquivir. He looks to be about 17 or 18, and fits the description of what, in Ireland, would be referred to as a right gurrier. It's a Dave Matthews moment, right here in Seville. I wonder if I'm the only one reacting with a double-take.

Apparently not. Just to the left of me I hear a deep smoker's baritone:
¡Que verguenza!
I look over and this guy of roughly my own age, dragging on the inevitable cigarette, is looking as taken aback as I feel. El fumador, however, displays considerably more presence of mind than I. Giving me a huge wink, he drags deeply on his cigarette, coaxing it to the maximum amount of glowing ash. Which he then flicks expertly towards the polluting offender, aiming in a direction where a glowing cigarette butt could do the most damage.

The ashes, of course, go nowhere near the target. But the effect is all that could be desired, nonetheless. Mannikin Pis yelps, jumps about a foot in the air, and comes close to doing himself permanent damage in his haste to zip up and move it on. El fumador and I exhange guffaws, and go our separate ways. Further comment would be superfluous.

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