Saturday, December 2, 2006

dreaming of madrid

Every day I make several round trips down Wabansia Street to avoid the North/Damen/Milwaukee intersection. To do this, though, I have to stop at a stop sign every block for about 8 blocks (although i've never counted...). This stop-and-go can be annoying, and there's always the risk of some idiot, who doesn't think the law applies to them, plowing through without even yielding.
I have a total double standard when it comes to pedestrian crossing. When I'm driving, I urge the pedestrians to hurry across the street, and yet, when I, myself, am a pedestrian, I will not hesitate to glare at a driver who is over-eagerly awaiting me to cross. Today I came to one such stop sign and saw an old lady to my left about to step into the crosswalk. There would have been ample time--even with a complete stop--for me to continue on past the stop sign. But I've always had a soft spot for people over 75, so I waited for her to make it to the other side. When she got about halfway across she turned her face partway towards my car and gave me a little smile with a small wave of her hand. I waved back. And it was at that moment that I noticed an old man with a cane crossing the cross street. I turned to my friend Amy in the passenger seat and let out a squeal. "Do you think they're meeting each other??" And sure enough, the old woman changed directions and took the hypotenuse route to the old man. They exchanged words which I could not hear inside my car. As I drove past I looked back in my rearview mirror, and they were already parting ways. I wondered if maybe it was a chance meeting, even though the sudden path change of the old woman seemed pretty deliberate to just be chance.

The above encounter made me think of this picture that I took while living in Madrid (Spain) almost three years ago. It was mid-March, and I had had a rough day. To make a (somewhat hilarious) story short...I managed to walk forcefully into a glass door upon exiting a restaurant and smashed my nose so hard that I had to go to the hospital and get my face x-rayed/bandaged. Anyway, I finally returned home, and all I wanted to do was relax on our balcony. So I climbed out the window and reveled in the sunshine. It was around 5:00, and the sun shone directly down Calle Eloy Gonzalo, making huge, elongated shadows follow directly behind passersby like silhouetted giants. I climbed back through my window to grab my camera, and that's when I got this shot, looking directly below my building (the top of the photo is actually the side with the street). To this day it remains one of my favorite captured moments, and every time I look at it I long to be back in the Spanish sun perched above the city, watching love shadows wander.