So it was about nine o’clock this evening and I decided to do what I guessed few others would have in mind for a Wednesday at that time, which was to head down to the Congreso de Diputados, the parliament building, just to kind of look at it. After all, it had been thirty years and maybe there was some kind of big event going down. I hopped on a Circular bus to Carlos V and hoofed it from there. It was just about at that time 30 years ago when Juan Carlos ordered the insurgents to adhere to the constitution and to lay their arms down. The building was completely dark, with just a lone guard pacing back and forth at the main gate. And that was about it, except for the two enormous and handsome iron lions which melted down and cast from the real cannons captured in wars in Africa during the 19th Century. I’ll take a chance and say 1863. And that was it. No lights. No music. No gaudy decorations. Nothing that would have made farcical filmmaker Berlanga (RIP) rub his hands together with excitement. Boy, you just can’t any more austere. But that can be such the Castilian way of doing things.
It was one of the first decent nights of the year and the streets were surprisingly active, but no one, not really anyone paid any attention to the Congreso. Tourists passed by, kids skateboarded in a small park across the street. A few people neared to see the lions and read about their origins, but that ended it. I get the feeling no one knew the significance of the moment. Not one person. That can be both good and bad.
I don’t know about you, but I still can’t get over the fact that as recently as 30 years ago, when Reagan was president and the TV series Cheers was starting that a Western European nation could actually suffer a coup d’etat attempt. It seems as foreign to a foreigner as you can get. But the former Spain had just relinquished its immense power, and hardly put up a fight. And when the powerful become weak, they also tend to become desperate. It’s only human. Thank God other sides of human nature prevailed.
So, where was I? I was probably reading Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises for 9th Grade Lit class and thinking that some day I would really like to visit this country.