Madrid is killing me  

Title: Madrid is killing me
Location: Madrid, Spain

All bets are off, and in the prophetic words of Hemingway and Orwell, Madrid is killing me. I don't know how to describe the energy of this city, and one needs to simply be here to understand completely. It sucks you in whole, 'entera,' and though there are no specific words to describe what is happening, the only thing we can all say to capture this energy is that it is killing us - all of us. This is not to be misconstrued as a negative image, but rather the contrary; Madrid is a place where you constantly feel alive. You are so alive, in fact, that you simply never want to stop or sleep or stay inside or relax. The fact that there is a steady stream of music and chatter outside my window supports this assertion. The long sunny days that slowly drag into night that then blend easily into the morning with such continuity that minutes go by so suddenly and you just can't stop....I pick up the paper or get up early for work in the morning and there is activity from the night before. I see the drunk kids, I hear them singing, arm in arm, leaning on each other at 7 or 8 or 9 a.m. I see the bums scraping the sidewalks for another cigarette butt, and the same people handing out flyers. In the Plaza Santa Ana right by my house there are people eagerly walking around looking up, looking for shots or 'chupitos' that are free, looking for photo opportunities, looking for something or someone to rob, looking at everyone that walks across, looking and looking and searching and never ceasing to do so. It is already mid-May, supposedly the best month to be in Spain or be a Spaniard. There are festivals every weekend, parties every night, and it somehow seems possible to do all of them. The heat during the day is stifling, and everyone awaits the night. You can't even walk outside your door without feeling sweat collecting within seconds, so people ease up on the work and kick into high gear for the fiesta and siesta. It is no stereotype, because when I go out, all of Madrid is with me, right by my side. It is killing us all, and though I have to wake up early in the morning for Spanish immersion classes, my Madrileno friends tell me it does not matter. Go straight to work, go out, live it and sleep when you die. Yes, Madrid is killing us all. And we love it. We are thirsty for it. We drink it because it pleases us, though our thirst is never quenched. Someday we will all be asleep but these nights will continue, killing everyone else.

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