Clients sit spread out around the bar ignoring the loud soccer game that blares on the televisions. The narrators of the soccer match compete with the noisy traffic that is bustling just outside the bar. The bar smells of a mix between freshly brewed coffee and beer. The aroma of beer persists throughout the night, but tables and floors remain clean and not sticky. A brown-haired woman wearing a black quarter zip and a bald man enter the bar and are greeted cheerfully by the staff. The woman says, “Que chulo la decoración (the decoration is cool)” as she points up to the empty beer bottles that dangle from the ceiling wrapped in fake cobwebs. She points again at a table in the corner with balloons, skulls, and a pumpkin.
A young boy with glasses asks the passing bartender in English, “What’s the wi-fi password?” The bartender shakes his head and waves his hand signaling wi-fi isn’t allowed for guests. The boy returns to his seat at a table with a man and woman, and they begin speaking English with Irish accents. The woman at the table lets her curly dark hair fall around her face, and the man keeps his white hair short and styled. The pale boy speaks some Spanish slowly with a foreign accent and the woman corrects his pronunciation. The boy rises from his seat and begins to wander around the bar until the bartender silently points toward a staircase that leads to the bathroom.
In the corner an old man in a black suit sits slumped back in his chair. He handles a beer glass the size of a chalice with two hands. A woman, pushing her brown hair back with black sunglasses, chats with the old man. Her words raspy words barely escape her mouth like those of a life-long smoker. She approaches the bar and leans over the counter to pay with her credit card. The old man follows her as he says to the staff, “Hasta mañana.” The waitress responds saying, “Adiós, hasta luego.”
The bartender vigorously dries beer glasses and then precariously places them on a rack making a ‘clink’ sound. As he tosses the waitress a rag, his large silver watch reflects against the hanging lights. The waitress stands idly scratching her head with a pen.
In Madrid around 6pm, Madrileños (citizens of Madrid) can be seen shuffling home through the underground local transportation “El Metro”. Many people in rather formal attire piled in línea 6 (line 6) which races in a complete circle around the city. The smell of the metro is unique, but the mask mandate now plays a role. While waiting for línea 6 to arrive one might feel a gust of wind rush by as the subway cars arrive. Every once in a while, there are some rare occurrences such as on September 7th when a guitarist serenaded and strummed his acoustic version of ‘Jailhouse Rock’ by Elvis Presley. The people responded in various different ways. Some people ignored him by looking in the opposite direction or pretended not to notice with their earbuds in, some people smiled, and one or two people tapped the beat on their leg. The people that enjoyed the performance tipped the guitarist when he finished as he moved to the next subway car to perform again.
The subway car that witnessed the guitarist’s performance is an audience of all shapes, sizes, and colors. The majority of women wear blouses with pants while the men wear collared shirts with shorts or pants. Some people wear sandals, other people wear shoes, but everyone has some sort of bag and wears their masks properly. Only one or two people chat on the phone, the rest sit in silence on their phones, or stare into space.
A group of young adults chat away in Spanish when all of the sudden they observe two women slam into the closing metro doors, which quickly reopen allowing them to enter the train. A woman catapults out of her seat to exit the train and collides into someone telling them “Aye perdón” (Oh, sorry). A younger girl quickly swipes her seat. A young crowd fills the seats while an older crowd of people stand holding on. A young man offers the older man his seat, but the kindly refuses. Past a certain hour of day, the metro doors will not open on their own so the passenger must press a green button to open them. Upon exiting the metro, everyone stands idly on the escalators which is contrary to the metro in the morning where people can be seen hustling on them as they dash to school or work. Upon exiting the metro a young male leaps over the gate where people normally tap their monthly paid metro card to access the underground transportation. That was an interesting commute.