The Winds

I went to the demonstration against the closure of the Cines Ideal at the Plaza de Jacinto Benavente, and no sooner had it begun than I inopportunely broke wind; it’s been happening more and more these days. But no one around me noticed. I regretted going there, because the crowd was negligible and those who did show up were mainly human rubble like myself. No young person in Madrid cares that the last cinemas in the city are vanishing. They have never set foot in them. Since childhood they’ve been used to watching the films devised — if you can use the word film to describe those images that the present generation find amusing — for the screens of their computers, tablets, and mobile phones. Osorio, in his optimist mode, says that since the cinemas are gone, I will have to get used to seeing films on the small screen. But I won’t get used to them; in this, too, I will remain faithful to my tendencies of old. I have lived too long to care if they call me a fossil, a Luddite, or, as Osorio says to tease me, a “conservative irredentist.” I am all that, and will continue to be so as long as my body holds out (which I doubt will be much longer). I break wind again; but no one has noticed it this time either, to judge by the indifference on people’s faces.  Osorio must be the last friend I have. We talk on the phone every day, to be sure that we are still alive. “Good morning. What’s up? You still standing?” “Apparently. At least it looks that way.” “Shall we meet for a coffee later?” “Yup.” I don’t remember when we first met; certainly not when we were young. The hazy swamp

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