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Something about the use of megaphones at the school next door to try to keep the children under control at recess makes me crack up. From my experience with working with Spanish elementary school children, I have no doubt they're an effective tool at making yourself heard above the din. Everytime the megaphone starts up and delivers some instructions in a deep, monotone voice, I just know some kid is doing something idiotic to get himself or herself into trouble. The possibilities for misbehavior are endless. I can't actually make out what's being said into the megaphone, but in my head it goes something like this:
*general noise coming from the playground, including screams, shouts, balls bouncing, etc*
*some kid hogs the ball*
"Juan, stop doing that right now. We share on the playground. Children that don't understand the playground rules go back to the preschool class to learn them. Now stop doing stupid things, or you'll stand in the corner."

There's a guy at my coworker's friends' apartment that pulls out a megaphone when they're being too loud. He also talks in a deep, monotone voice. "Por favor, bajad la voz. Bajad la voz, por favor." Basically translates to "please lower your voice," but it sounds funnier to me in Spanish. My other coworker told a story about this crazy guy in his friends' apartment building that threatened to beat them all with a hammer if they didn't get quiet. It seems there's a lot of stressed people here.
For example, there's a guy that occasionally stands across the street from my apartment building that's already snapped. He stands out there and abuses a recorder in a way that recalls 3rd grade music concerts. He doesn't have a hat or anything to put money in, and a residential area would be a rather unprofitable place to do street performance anyway. I think he's trying to hitch a ride from passing aliens. All I know is that when I'm outside at the same time he is, I have to be grateful for the fact that he attracts all the "wtf" looks that are usually reserved for me.

Okay, so I've already told you that you get stares for eating on the street, but especially for eating in the bus or on the metro. Eating in public transport is considered to be very bad manners. So of course on my way back from a bar in Malasana last night, I was thrilled to see a guy succumbing to his hunger and eating a Natilla on the metro. I was shaking so hard from silent laughter that I actually got another guy sitting catty corner to me to start cracking up with me. Laughing with strangers about stupid things is definitely one of my favorite things to do on public transport. I was drunk and slap happy when I got on the last train a little before 2am, and for some reason I found the couple across from me making out to be hilarious. I sat there fighting my great internal merriment and biting my lip until this other guy wandered onto the metro and sat down on the next set of seats down from me. While I had been laughing at the couple, I made brief eye contact a few times with the guy that was sitting on the next set of seats down from them, and kept trying not to laugh audibly. So when the new guy entered with a bag of groceries and started looking around meticulously for the cleanest seat of the four immediately available to him, I started laughing even harder, even though it really wasn't all that funny. I had to look away for a bit to control myself, and then when I couldn't resist watching Meticulous Man anymore (thinking "what normal but strange activity will he be doing now?"), I looked back to find him rummaging through his grocery bag and pulling out a natilla (pudding cup thing) and a spoon, and cracking it open right there for all to see. I also saw my partner in laughing-at-stupid-things-on-the-metro-at-2am basically lose it as we watched Meticulous Man close his eyes in ecstasy as he devoured his natilla in public, one careful spoonful at a time. I seriously almost felt like I had walked in on him and his pudding. Sadly, we reached my stop halfway through the natilla and I had to get off before the natilla-eater could entertain my fellow laugher and I with more mundane activities, but it was the most stupidly funny thing I've laughed at in a long time.


Yay!  Hug the trees!
that's Pharaoh Bob to you.

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