Pablo Gerschuni

Guiris, catalanes y el centro en bicicleta

insostenible

Ya no se puede cruzar el centro en bicicleta. La situación es insostenible. El ayuntamiento prefiere darle más importancia al comercio que a la necesidad de los ciudadanos por trasladarse de un lado a otro. Me quejo desde el punto de vista del que monta en bicicleta, aunque estoy seguro de que los peatones también tienen mucho que decir, seguramente contra nosotros, porque el ayuntamiento nos está poniendo en contra.

Primero destruyen el carril bici de Paral·lel, provocando el caos general en las amplias aceras de esa avenida. Bicicletas bajan, suben, señoras que van a comprar el pan, abuelos que pasean, terrazas que invaden casi todo el espacio, cruces de calles infernales con pasillos de rejas de medio metro… aunque vayas caminando con la bici entre las piernas, te llevas a alguien por delante. Gritos, miradas asesinas y algún que otro insulto gratuito. Solución: evitar Paral·lel. ¿Cómo voy al centro? Venga, Gran Vía, Hospital, Portaferrisa, Via Laietana.

Pero, en uno de mis trayectos habituales al trabajo, para optimizar el tiempo, me veo obligado a pasar por la plaza de la catedral. Amplia plaza dura, perfecta explanada del mal. Malditas ferias, mercadillos del demonio y mierdas varias que se empeñan en poner allí. Que si el mercado del vino, de la miel, de las butifarras, de la paja o de antigüedades con precios desorbitados, esa plaza es de todo menos una explanada agradable para pasar en bicicleta. En verano hay que aguantar las hordas de turistas sacándole fotos a la catedral, pero en invierno hay que aguantar a los catalanes que bajan a comprar caga tiós, caganers, molsa y porquería navideña a la infame feria de Santa Llúcia. No sé qué es peor, porque como son del país, se creen con el derecho a insultarte y darte lecciones de “civismo”, al encontrarse ante la vorágine de la selva que no pisan más que en estas fechas. “La bici per aquí no, jove! Que no veu que hi ha una fira? Mare de déu del Pilar. Macagun la pell del gitano vell!”. Porque para más inri, las hordas de turistas no menguan, sino que cambian los pantalones cortos por abrigos largos. Y los catalanes se sienten más cosmopolitas cuando oyen a un guiri preguntarle al Antonio del puesto navideño: “Oh lord, what’s that? Caganer? What does it mean?” Entonces se sienten más importantes y se confunden y al final los enemigos pasamos a ser los pobres ciclistas y no ellos, que colapsan las pequeñas calles de nuestro centro. Y si está lloviendo, bueno, eso ya es una deconstrucción de hostia en vinagre.

Volviendo al tema de la navidad y las malas transformaciones que sufre la ciudad, desde mediados de diciembre hasta después de reyes, uno de las calles que más apaleada resulta es la pobre Gran Vía de les Corts Catalanes. Queda inutilizada, vendida a comerciantes de juguetes rancios, productes de la terra, perfumes de pegolete, artesanía revenida y churros grasientos en las esquinas, todo al servicio de una multitud de catalanes que ¿pasean? de un lado al otro viendo las mismas tiendas repetidas una y otra vez ad infinítum.

¿Se supone que tengo que desviarme y darle la vuelta al Tibidabo, cruzando el Besós, para llegar al trabajo? ¿Por qué a todo el mundo le parece bien que invadan los carriles bici? ¿Por qué no lo hacen con la calle? O mejor aún, para no generar conflictos, ¿por qué no tienen en cuenta que por esa parte de la acera pintada con una raya blanca pasan al día cientos de ciclistas? ¿Por qué pueden anular un carril bici con cualquier excusa? ¿Y el “viu bicing” convergent del que tanto se enorgullecen? ¿Acaso porque es invierno la gente no puede ir en bici? ¿No nos estabais vendiendo la bicicleta como el transporte urbano más sostenible y saludable? Ah, claro, si se trata d’omplir-se la butxaca, no lo dudáis ni un segundo. La pela és la pela. Hipócritas. La bicis son para todo el año, no solo para el verano de los anuncios de Estrella Damm. ¡Devolvednos los carriles!

En fin, después del horario laboral hay que volver a casa. ¿Rodear el centro o atravesarlo? Quiero llegar rápido, así que me lanzo a mi suerte. Hostia, no, ¡que no hay carriles bici por Ciutat Vella! Porque incluso por la calle Ferran, que es una calle, es un infierno pasar en bici. Todo el año está lleno de guiris caminando por el medio de la calle, lo “bueno” es que al menos a ellos les tocas el timbre y se apartan. Al final te acostumbras a la fuerza, vas más lento pero consigues atravesar la marabunta. En navidad no. Mucha luz colgando, mucha compra, pero poca consideración para los ciclistas. No se puede educar a los guiris, pero a los oriundos sí. Que se acostumbren a convivir con manadas de turistas, que prediquen con el ejemplo y usen las aceras, que entiendan que el centro ya no es lo que era y que tengan en cuenta que la calle es calle y no un centro comercial. Respetémonos y dejadme pasar en bici, hombreyá.

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Sam Simon

Mamihlapinatapai

edward hopper sam simon

I caught the S2 at 5:00pm and picked out a seat in the front carriage. I know it was the 5:00 that day and not the 5:06 because if I wanted a coffee and a cigarette before work I had to catch the 5:00. The train was new and still smelled like an unworn pair of sneakers, fresh out of the box. I opened my book and read a few lines as we glided along the tracks, streamlining through the tunnels beneath the city. When we pulled into the next station I looked up as a school of passengers sardined their way onto the train, jostling for vacant seats. I sat watching the fleeting rat race until the winners claimed their prizes and exhaled in relief. A pregnant woman came up from the back and the hierarchy of train etiquette came into play dictating that the crowd part and the youngest passenger give up their newly-earned seat. Distracted by the new group of people to watch, I put the business card from the restaurant I’d eaten at the day before in my book and looked around.

Despite the temperate weather outside, the man in front of me was dressed in a raincoat with an umbrella nestled between his legs. He looked down at my sandal-clad-feet and his face furrowed into confusion as he compared our attire. His eyes continued to rise until they met mine at which point they darted off in another direction. The woman next to him had her glasses on her forehead and was moving her iPhone back and forth in front of her face trying to read the small typeface while tapping her long, pink fingernails against the glass screen.

We came to the next station and a handful of passengers stood up and got off. Two teenage boys boarded the train dressed in shorts with high socks and cleats on. They picked out two seats across from one another, leaving one seat empty until a tall, young brunette holding a university folder and wearing white headphones in her ears sat down. She was sitting diagonally across the aisle from me and looked straight at me. For a brief moment we shared a stare until she broke it, instead opting to change the song on her phone. She was beautiful.

Suddenly disinterested in the other passengers, and not wanting to fixate on the girl, I reopened my book and read a few paragraphs. It was useless. I skimmed the words, internalizing none of them while intermittently glancing up at the girl, hoping she was doing the same. To my genuine surprise she was returning my looks with almost the same frequency. I began to get nervous thinking about what to say and when to say it. The brakes screeched to a stop at the next station, giving us both an excuse to look up from our respective attempts to appear focused on anything other than each other.

As the train rolled on, the light from the station faded into the depth of the tunnel and the windows once again regained their reflective properties. I looked straight ahead at the man with the umbrella for as long as I could but felt the opportunity to connect with the dark olive eyes slipping away as we creeped closer and closer to my stop. I leaned my head against the window and using it as a mirror I angled my sight to find her in its reflection. When I adjusted myself in my seat I was able to connect with those same eyes as the two blackened windows worked to cast back a colorless gaze directly into mine. Could she see me too or was it just a trick the mirrors were playing on me?

I lifted my head off the glass and craned my neck in her direction pretending to stretch. The man with the umbrella, the two boys in cleats, and the woman still trying to read her phone had all gotten up in anticipation of reaching the next stop. Finally, after about four minutes that seemed to last an hour, we were alone. I stood up, put my book in my bag and my bag on my back and walked into the aisle towards her. “Hello” I said, in my head. “Yea, hello’ll do.” I took a step in her direction, staring down at the sweat stains on my sandals. “No, not hello. Hey, or maybe how’s it going?” I looked up from the floor and smiled at her. The train began to slow to a stop in the station, it was now or never. She smiled back at me, “Yes!” I thought to myself.

The doors opened and people started to get off. I paused for a second and stopped right in front of her. It didn’t matter if I missed my stop, the coffee could wait, “I should give up smoking anyway”. I cleared my throat and spoke,

“Hello” I said. “Good start” I thought.

“Hi” She replied.

I paused for a second, “Shit, what now?”

“Is this the stop for Sarria?”

“Yes.”

“Okay, thanks.”

I walked off the S2 and onto the platform. The coffee was burnt and the cigarette was stale. The next day I took the 5:06

Estándar
Sam Simon

An Alternative to Trinkets

It was definitely the little boy pulling the head off a live chicken, not the man defecating in the street or the smell of burning trash that put me on edge. This back alley was one more dead-end in a labyrinth of roads I’d walked, trying to retrace my steps to the busy main streets.

The equatorial summer was getting the best of me as I walked to the central market, searching for refuge from the unbearable humidity and thundering rain. When I finally arrived, stall after stall of discarded electronics, fake-gold watches, and Louis Vuitton knock-offs greeted me. Although its pace was lively, it was otherwise uninspiring and hardly the cultural essence of Ghana that had been pitched to me.

As I turned up a busy street and headed into the heart of the market, the vender’s shouts of Obruni and “white-man” grew nearly as strong as my lack of interest in whatever they were peddling. I wandered further away from the commotion; a tactic I hoped would lead me to something more than what I’d already found.

Sitting down on the side of the road, I downed the rest of my water and checked the time. There were still four hours until my bus was departing but considering I was lost in a new city, that wasn’t comforting at all. Shortly after, a group of young men loudly summoned me to their small shop. Ignoring their hissing and shouts proved useless and I realized speaking to them was my best option.

I tentatively walked their way, hoping they too were simply trying to get me to buy something, but instead, I was greeted with a thumb snap and a bag of water. When one of the men offered me the remaining chicken on his plate, my demeanor shifted from apprehensive to confused. The gravity of the situation didn’t dawn on me until a woman carrying a newborn baby emerged from the shop and everyone rose to their feet as she quietly approached me. Without uttering a word, she took my hand and placed it on the forehead of her child while whispering a prayer.

When she finished praying, our hands still intertwined, she looked up at me with tear-stained-eyes and delivered a faint squeeze of gratitude. The group dispersed silently, leaving me to contemplate if either of us understood the effect we had had on each other. It was clear by her demeanor that my presence moved her and her child, but she’ll never know how meaningful her faith felt to me. I walked away, back toward the smell of burning garbage and shouts of haggling. Back into Accra.

Estándar
Victoria Gonzalez-Figueras

Memorias de Groch II

Se conoce que la física cuántica tiene respuestas para todo. Aunque anhele yo un espectacular despliegue de emociones armadas, no sabría decir si sería capaz de pensar que la ciencia me lo solucionaría. Tampoco lo diría; lo del despliegue. Yo en la cuántica creo. Me parece bastante honesto lo de ser una ciencia pero admitir no tener nada claro y depender de las posibilidades ajenas. Todos deberíamos hacerlo.

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He perdido la oportunidad de decirte a la cara que me voy, que después de cuatro años de habernos separado, de haberte dejado, me voy. En el tren dudaba, quería ir a buscarte pero no lo hice y no sé por qué. Quizás tú también tenías cosas para contarme. Ahora sé que no te voy a ver más.

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