As we continue to search for political solutions that meet the minimum requirements of various factions’ realities, it is sometimes good to step back and to remember that each of us, though carved from different histories and upbringings, comes from the same human race.
I travelled to Spain last year with my daughter and though I did not have the pleasure of visiting throughout the wonderful countryside, I did enjoy the sights and sounds of a few destinations such as Madrid and Barcelona.
While in Madrid, I visited the Las Ventas Bull Ring. It began to rain as we exited the Madrid Metro tunnel and as we entered the stadium the fight was cancelled. Undaunted as Americans sometimes obstinately are, I snuck out into the middle of the ring that day as the rain trickled to a stop. Most of the spectators had made their way out of the ring and many of those remaining were Americans that had come to see a traditional bull fight.
Enjoying the moment, I took off my bomber jacket that had a red interior and turned it inside out, fancying it to be my small muleta. Standing before the crowd I, the matador, stoically and bravely waved it before the imaginary charging bull. To my surprise, the few hundred people remaining in the rain soaked arena met my imagination with repeated shouts of Ole!
A few disgruntled Americans who had spent their two dollars buying the traditional pads that spectators rest upon (as there are no seats in the arena) then began to thrust their pads into the air to watch them fly hundreds of feet until they plopped inside the sandy ring. A shower of pads spontaneously began to rain down around me. All at once, Spanish ushers began running out into the stands to stop the parade of pads from falling.
To this day, a memory that builds a smile on my face every time I think of it was what happened next. Low in the stands, close enough for me to hear, a young Spanish usher pointed his middle finger up into the stands and with a big broad smile on his face, he shouted in his best English possible, but at a determined and slow pace, “Fuuuuuggggggg………..EEEWWWWEEEEEEEE”
While it did not stop the skies from being filled with the remaining pads left in the stands, it did stop me in my tracks. I beamed at this young man reaching across countries, dialects, cultures, and confrontations to connect us as one in his joy of proclaiming his understanding of humorous chaos of the moment that day.
Take away the trappings of our own geographies and political musings, and we are but one humanity that can enjoy the tumult of a rainy, Madrid afternoon.