It’s Sunday evening, sorry afternoon as it’s not yet nine o’clock, and the abnormally warm clime has drawn out the populace in droves. They’ve even managed to shed their parkas and ski coats. I know, I know, 74 degrees (Fahrenheit)… best break out my down coat (at least that seems to be the sentiment here). I’m fighting against my body’s regulatory measure to sweat so I can follow suit. Madrileñas wear ski coats in warm weather and don’t sweat. FIT. IN. Because as of now, I scream foreigner in my tee and jeans. How. Dare. I.
Anyway, I’m shuffling down Gran Via, the street surprisingly bare of cars, the sky a brilliant blue, when I hear a dull rumble. It starts to build- like the sound of an engine. I search the sky above for planes, helicopters, blimps, pimped out kites… nada. No cars in the road… When suddenly, a knit-capped head bobbles over the horizon line: skate-boarder! And in what I can only describe as an urban version of the wildebeest stampede scene in The Lion King, a hoard of boarders rolls down Gran Via, blotting out the asphalt.
Do I take cover?!
I look around to take cue from the other pedestrians. They don’t seem too bothered as a few boarders weave between us on the sidewalk. I don’t trust my reaction speed to save me from a collision, so I casually flatten myself against the nearest wall. Just in case. They pour over the hill, board after board. Is this a thing? From my precautionary perch I scan the crowd… not exactly what I was expecting. Instead of acne-ridden pre-pubescents and teenagers, the majority of this… gang (?) is adults. Normal, clean-cut adults just group boarding the city center on a warm Sunday afternoon.
I suppose it’s like a running group. But with boards. It just took me back a bit seeing impeccably dressed, grown men gang-boarding like some snotty-nosed punks. But what do I know?
You do you, Madrid. You do you.