A Sensational Time-Lapse Story in Barcelona

by Elyn Aviva

Rumbling vibration of Spanish high-speed AVE train, coming into the deep underground white glass-brick cement plaster metal station in Girona. Feet tingle on platform, train sloowwwwws waaaayyyyyyy dowwwwwwnnnn and coasts to stop. Sigh like a long-held outbreath as doors open, stairs unfold. Clack thump of discharging passengers maneuvering out and down and onto platform, luggage dangling. 

We wait to get on. Impatience has a metallic feel. 

Finding our seats, sinking in. Ahh. Whoosh of doors closing, train starting, gaining speed. 200 kms/hour. Fast. Train car is more or less silent, except for the gaggle of girls behind us, a before-wedding hen party heading to Barcelona. They sport puffy red heart pins on their sweaters, move grudgingly when I push through to the semi-circular toilet cubicle at the end.

Ground mist rises like whipped cream, hiding the dark green hills. Rain smears against the windows, streams rushing tumultuous but soundless, muddy swirling water caressing tree roots in a cold embrace.

200 kms/hour, now 150, now 50, now 6…. Slow sigh of arrival. Sants Estación, Barcelona. Hurry down the platform, up the escalator, across the station toward Metro entrance. Huge Metro map on wall, angular routes snaking over it, marking the underground root-network beneath the city. Choose your color, your number, your direction. Linea 5, sky blue, direction Vall de Hebron, intermediate node, Sagrada Familia. Repetitive thump squeak of footsteps on tile corridor, down one flight of stairs, onto slow moving escalator… Pause. Shift. Wait.

Tension builds. People jostle to buy tickets. Which way does the ticket arrow go in the machine to get through the gate? Will the baby buggy get caught in the vertical gyrating windmill turnstile? Why doesn’t it work? Put it in again. Lose a journey.

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How to Survive a Family Visit

by Judith Fein

If you are one of those lucky people whose family gets along superbly, who looks forward to flying or driving to visit family on holidays or special occasions, who can’t wait until the family gets together again, who slid out of the birth canal into a functional family, then stop reading--this article is definitely not for you.

If, on the other hand, you start popping Valium, drinking vodka or meditating obsessively two weeks before you have to go home (or wherever your family convenes), then, by all means, read on. 

Let’s face it, there are only two ways to think about family. Either you are born into one as an accident of fate (God’s divine sense of humor), or you mystically “chose” the family you were to plop into so that you could learn spiritual lessons. There may actually be a third possibility—that you are paying back some awful karma for unspeakable acts committed in a prior lifetime.

Whatever the case, you have been exposed to some or all of the events below when you grew up with or visited your family as an adult.

 

1) Screaming that could revive the dead and make them long for the peace of the grave

2) Heart-rending sobbing that would cause Caligula to weep

3) Spouses or significant others who stare into their dinner plates to avoid getting sucked into the black hole of rehashed drama

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