by Sally Sorte – Spain
Get to the metro right as your train is pulling away? Me cagué en la leche. Spill your sangria? Me cagué en la leche. Somebody steal your cell phone? Me cagué en la leche. ‘I shit in the milk.’ No, that’s not Nesquik.
Avoiding thieves is an art. Your wallet needs to move to your front pocket, zippers need to be closed and forward, backpacks must be worn like pregnant suits—like in “10 Things I Hate About You,” you cannot be distracted by books or maps thrust in your face, and the vigilance can never cease. Thieves may come in the form of children playing under tables—chasing runaway balls, a confused tourist hablar-ing perfect Español, a classy con artist working with her compañero, or a grimy homeless guy without shirt, shoes, or service.
I encountered the latter, and didn’t see his back until he was already a block away. My friend and I were frisked like cat food, but luckily my purse was woven around my wrist and his cargo pocket contained no valuables.
In Spain the expression for paying attention is ‘estar al loro’—to be like a parrot, but even birds in paradise may become demasiada borracha—crunk.
Por ejemplo, at the Casa de Cerveza you can have all the beer, sangria, and Camacho that you can libate for 10 euros. With no Sharpie on hand to tally your brazo, you may lose count.
I was with a group from a Boston program and the familiar sound of American hip hop summoned me to the dance floor, German girl named Anna in tow, our cell phones wall-flowering it on the table.
Some time later, with new numbers to insert into the phone, I returned to the table to find a dude that reeked of mierda sitting in the chair closest to the door. The table had been stripped; our phones were gone, as was Anna’s purse. I told the bouncer that we’d been had and pointed out the sketchy dude and his sketchier accomplice. The bouncer rounded up his cronies and a few of the burlier bartenders, and they took it afuera.
I watched from inside the Casa while the bouncers laid down the smack and got our ‘moviles’ back. Those hijos de putas will be out of business for awhile, pero no me importa, ladrones shouldn’t try to shit in my milk.
Writing from a broad—where the first floor is always the second story.