Thursday, February 16, 2012

Metro happenings continued

Back to story time.

Before starting my actual story, I should give some background information.

Here, as well as in many major cities, people perform on the metro trains between stops, and ask for donations. You may have an accordion player (quite typical), a guitarist, a person singing to a portable karaoke machine, or like I witnessed today, a whole quartet perform.  I always 1) feel bad that I don't donate 2) wonder what their success rate is.  Do they aim to earn 3€ since the metro fare is 1.50€, or more? Or less? Is this a side job, or are they really relying solely on this source of income?

Anyways, my curiosities laid aside...

Friday night, I was on the metro to meet some friends for dinner at neighborhood called Chueca.  The train was pretty packed, and I was reading The Duchess of Malfi for a class assignment while in transit, and to no one's surprise, there was another accordion player performing.  Didn't think much of it, and I got off at my stop.  And so did the accordion player.  My friends call me and say that they are running about 15 minutes late.  So I think, well, I'll just sit on this bench, and when 15 minutes pass, I'll go up to the exit and wait for them there.  By this time the accordion player has moved to the train that is in front of the one we were on, and starts to play.  It just so happens that I chose to sit on a bench that was facing this train, and it is so happens that the doors of the train stayed open for another two minutes.  So I hear the music (at this time I didn't know that the accordion player was there), and look up from my book and see the accordion man.  He sees that I see him.  He smiles, so I smile back (as any friendly American would!) and go back to my book.  And then the doors close, the train starts to move, and so I look up again, and I see that he's is moving his head around people to keep on smiling at me.  Weird, I thought, but friendly.

But that is not all.

During the ten-fifteen minutes I'm sitting there, other trains come and go, other people come sit on the same bench and stand around where I'm sitting.  So naturally I don't think much of anything when a man comes and stands by my right side around the 12th or 13th minute.  But from my peripheral vision (I'm still reading), I can sense that this person is staring at me. Like STARING at me.  Not stealing glances, STARING.  MadrileƱos are pretty well known for their unashamed staring habits, but this was something else.  As smoothly as I could, I stick my book in my purse, and start making my way upstairs to the exit.

Alas! I am free. Sike.

I hear footsteps, and a Hola, perdona! And I swerve around to see who is talking to me, and IT IS THE ACCORDION PLAYER! Dun-dun-DUNNNN!

(How did he get back to this station when he left on a train 15 minutes ago, I have no idea. And did he come back because that's his normal route, or to find me....hopefully the former.)

And the following conversation goes as such (more or less):

Man: Hi, do you remember me?
Me: (smiling) Yes, I do.
Man: I think you're pretty--I really like people of the Chinese race.
Me: (still smiling) Oh, I'm not Chinese, I'm Korean. (There's another personal fact about me.)
Man: Oh, well, I'm Romanian!
Me: Oh are you? I have a friend that went to Romania last summer. She loved it.
Man: Oh you went to Romania?!?!
Me: No no no, not me, my friend. (I don't think he understood this part very well.)
Man: Do you have family here?
Me: No, I'm here to study.
Man: Could we grab coffee?
Me: (taken aback) Oh sorry, I'm meeting my friends for dinner. Sorry.
Man: How about tomorrow? Please?
Me: Oh sorry, thank you, but sorry, no...(still smiling I'm pretty sure.)
Man: Alright (smiling, and starts to head back down stairs to the metro)
Me: Have a good night! (STILL smiling. What is up with me and smiling?!?)

Some may find this situation creepy, but I thought it was amusing!! I mean, how many people can say they get asked out for coffee by some 40 year old Romanian accordion player on the Metro of Madrid?  PUAHAHA

I mean I don't really know if I should take it as flattery, or what... Whichever, it makes for a great story and memory. :D

Now I'm wondering if I'll run into on the Metro again in the next three-four months I'm here.  Knowing things, I probably will. LOLOL

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