El chotis del feo aka the ugly man’s Schottische


My turn to dance with ugliest girl at the ball again. Pluck up courage and put on a brave face. When things are left half done, they need to be completed, changed around and have a cherry placed on top, always a morello. More hotels. We can hear the till ringing. Unbelievable. Begrudgingly we watched how the ugliest guys managed to get all the prettiest girls, Agustin Lara and someone called Sinatra. Bankcards slide easily across the slot at the point of sale terminal. Me, on the other hand, the Gran, who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, am left with my tongue hanging out. Put it back in, you pleb.
As always, little can be touched, little can be changed, but everything has to look different, neat and functional. Sheesh, what a load of rubbish. We ask ourselves, why they don’t knock on our door before coming in, instead of going around looking for something they’ll have to change later? I’ve seen fat guys and thin guys use my talent, like walking arm-in-arm with a monument. I’d love to be ugly, so I could parade down the street with a sweet baby on my arm.
Here we find ourselves in a solid building which is pure Madrid, very Castillian brick. Time decided to brick in with a pavilion tacked over several floors. A big surprise and a frown, what do you expect from a client who walks in carrying their own supplies? That’s enough! I like to get things in order. Something else. I don’t whether it’s a good or bad thing, but for dining they intend to have a lounge with no sunlight, no air, nothing. They call it El Atemporal due to its lack of seasons, of fallen leaves, blooming flowers, warbling birds, and bawling taxi drivers. A cave, shelter from a non-existent war, with no wailing sirens, or thundering planes. And the famous expression goes “From Madrid to the heavens”. More floors there are sure to be. Go upstairs? No, that’s enough for today. I’m going to find myself a cosmetic surgeon. One who will change my angelic features. With my new face I’ll certainly be able to show off the sweetest babies on my arm and women will say I’m an Adonis when I dance a perfect Schottische with them tightly around a brick.
Although science is advancing at an incredible rate, inspiration comes from strolling around. And there it is, the Gate of Alcalá. You can’t miss it. There’s no getting rid of it, just like a traffic policeman stranded and useless on his stand. He keeps waving his arms. Fitful, phlegmatic. Touristy, picturesque, we draw near and the electronic buzz of a cash register can be heard again. What progress! Anyway, the council provides us with subterranean passageways. The car is king. Let it drive on. Great to arrive at the Retiro, a park in the centre! Very Madrid, very Sunday strollers. Well, picturesque, recently very varied and cosmopolitan.  Artists with a stuck-on smile. Over-photographed, overheated costumes. A little dusty in summer, dry soil, fine sand. Unlike when it rains – be careful of the mud.