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2013/04/08 / tocovava

Sugar Packet | Barcelona

Sugar Packet | Barcelona

The rain had stopped, so I took the break in the weather to walk over to the hotel for the room keys. It was about 3:30PM, deep into siesta. Most of the metal shutters had been pulled down and locked on Carrer Tanger. There was a ramshackle mish-mash of tents and sheds in a gravel field under an overpass. I couldn’t tell if they were worksite tool sheds like for a smelter (a construction zone was nearby) or living quarters of folk screwed by the euro zone crisis. Someone was burning wood, and it made me homesick. So I decided living quarters. On-site smelters is a silly idea in 2013. And it didn’t seem like many nails were being hammered, the Tyvek-like material on the half-finished building was sun-faded and wind-torn. The euro zone crisis looks a lot like Benton Harbor, Michigan.

Carrer Tanger is a one-way in a district of textile importers (Sanrio, Hello Kitty line by Noguera y Vinto; sikly fabrics by Sedatex), scale makers (Anapesing), pornographers (Thagson – actors and actresses wanted) with auto repair shops conveniently located on the angled Barcelona corners. It was a pleasant enough walk, the streets and buildings were wet like polished for a movie. I was in a good mood because of the fine work I done earlier in the day: securing a bar of soap and a few sacks of dried fruit, plus I’d allowed others onto my internet network. Now, to check into the hotel. How hard could that be?

It was a disaster of non-epic proportions. A nuisance, really. Nothing at all really when compared to living under an overpass. Nevertheless, it engulfed 45 minutes of negative energy. I can only wonder in what other situation would I have used that negative energy? I didn’t have my passport, Olga the desk clerk at the hotel wouldn’t give me the room keys. Olga had a sturdy corporate box of ceremony that she stood on. I had a belly full of ire that I belched into words over the desk. I asked her to trust me. She refused. Then I demanded her trust. That went nowhere. I couldn’t blame her, I seemed untrustworthy with my sweaty hair and belly full of ire. And I had a mustache that seemed out of place, not fully formed and wearing down my face. I picked up a complaint card, pulled out a pen and pretended to write while saying too loudly, “Olga has a problem listening.” Tapped the pen nib to my tongue, thinking. “Olga won’t shut up so a guest can talk.” I wore her down, or she wanted to get the crazy American out of the lobby. I was scaring the Brazilian and Japanese business folk. Ire trumps ceremony.

The hotel check-in would have been much, much more dramatic had I not stopped first for a cortado at Bar Aiqufreda, (Carrer Tanger 11). Besides the workers I was the only person in there. They were getting ready to close. When I ordered my cortado the guy looked at the espresso machine. Two dirty cups on the tray, the steaming wand was crusted with dried milk, it needed to be cleaned yet. There was a stack of dirty dishes on the counter. What is a couple more to add to the stack? He sized up the situation in a way that Olga and I were incapable of doing later. He made the cortado. When he set the saucer in front of me some of coffee spilled onto the spoon. I moved aside the sugar packet before it got wet. I took a picture of it. This is the sugar packet.

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