Any given day in the Plaza de Cristo Rey (Madrid). No, it is not just any day. It’s December 22nd. The hum of the drums and singing creatures already makes the morning exciting. Traffic jam at the roundabout, ambulances rushing in to skid through the emergency entrances of the Clinic and the Jiménez Díaz Foundation (“la Concha” for the old women of the place). Floods of people watering their ailments in the different doors of hospitals, like frightened ants. Opposite, many others are queuing in a private laboratory owned by Isaac Peral. And these are woven in turn with the queues of several nearby pharmacies. El Gordo has not yet come out but the city is already breathing collapse on all four sides.
I spend a long time observing this choreography of crazed traffic and anxiously bewildered people. I am doing time here because they have not allowed me to go to the operating room with my oldest son (a routine and mild intervention). All because I could not download the COVID passport due to a problem with my health card, or with the health card app, or with the CAM page, which was blocked … Anyway, one more problem. A stone of trouble. If all the infected people that I know right now are doubly vaccinated, then what is that passport for in these circumstances? I think about what those who do not have a health card will do in this city, but that is such a dodgy second prize that it deserves another column. The logical thing would have been to do a PCR on the baby’s father or me, but, ah, the doctor’s gesture says it all. The logic is over. The snakes that barely keep a safe distance while they wait for their test or the delivery of the promised antigen test corroborate it: the logic is over. Good sense too.
And the jackpot of the lottery is begging. The fat man of the ridiculous, no: he arrives with the mandatory nature of the masks decided after the conference of regional presidents. Aham. Sure, Pedro. That will change this entire apocalyptic landscape, no doubt. Why did not we think of that? And the reintegration of demagoguery comes with the call for a ‘culture of self-care’. Wait, Isabel, I am choking on the child’s post-op. How do you think we exercise self-care after abandonment, after shock, from exhaustion? But no, it is not another of his boutades, It is not even a Christmas tale of goodwill: it is one more example of his way of ruling. A new lace to the wear and tear of the public, before which we only seem to have individual resistance. Never has a reappropriation been so perverse, so tortuous, so ‘what a daughter of …’, I cut myself, that I am already in the pediatric surgery waiting room.
I find out from the nurses that the first prize has come out at once. I had another one: the three of us are already out of the hospital, everything has turned out great. The assistants have dressed my son’s teddy bear in a miniature surgical gown and put on an admission bracelet like the one he wears. He has been given a box with gauze and syringes to take care of the bear during her convalescence. I don’t know, it makes me want to cry. It seems to me the only logical and sensible gesture of the whole day. In the midst of the chaos that is still pressing in the square, I can only say between my teeth: Ayuso, you should wash your mouth after using the term ‘self-care’. I also get to promise the sanitary companies that we will defend their trench from wherever we are. Let the deck of this absurd lottery break.