La Merce : festival of compassion?

19 Sep

I was at the opening of La Merce tonight. We watched the fireworks and then in messy Spanish style managed to join groups of friends, make sure everyone ate something and drank something, watched the fireworks and then reached the experimental world music stage. It was a bit like herding cats….. who were high on rum.

But we got there in the end. Everyone was a little drunk and dancing in true La Merce style, when the sound of disturbance rose and the crowd parted.

At the center of the empty space in the crowd was a man. He wore a grey cardigan and a backpack and his hands hung by his side. His penis was tucked into the waistband of his jeans, so that as he pissed, his urine formed a wide arc away from his body. Everyone cleared a circle to get away from that free flowing penis.

Our faces twisted in disgust. Cries of ‘Hombre!’ ‘¿Qué haciendo?’ and ‘En serio?’ went up through the crowd. He had clearly drunk too much or taken a drug he couldn’t handle. We were disgusted, but still he continued to pee a steady stream. Clearly he was beyond caring about humiliating himself in public.

Then a young man in an over-sized black hoodie stepped into the empty circle. He walked up to the drunk man and put his arm around his shoulders. ‘Are you okay?’ ‘Do you want some water?’

That’s when I remembered why I fell in love with this city.

La Merce 2015


2 Responses to “La Merce : festival of compassion?”

  1. Dan September 19, 2015 at 9:37 am #

    Beautiful story!

    • Prithika September 19, 2015 at 1:02 pm #

      Thanks Dan, it’s nice to see kindness on the street.

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