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Monday, June 11, 2007

Oh, these febrile summer days

8:45 AM in the Eixample, corner of Provença and Aribau. Guy driving slowly in his white VW Golf, pulling up next to a young woman who is dressed like a school teacher in a jersey dress, carrying a large handbag. They exchange a few brisk words. This is about a block away, so I can’t hear what they’re saying. Suddenly she covers her face, as if she just saw something highly repugnant, and yells, in an English accent:

“NO! I don’t know!”

VW Golf guy says something that is inaudible to me. The woman strides forward, with the bounce and conviction of a runway model.

“I said NO! Leave me ALONE!”

The guy says something else. Now the woman is really powerwalking. The guy is still cruising beside her. She screams:

“I SAID NO!!!!”

Traffic surges forward. VW Guy gives up on the woman and accelerates. He reaches my corner of the street, from where I have been watching the whole thing. He takes the curve, and as he’s doing this I make the mistake of looking into the open driver’s side window. The dude’s red willy is sticking out of his open fly.

According to my girlfriend - who has had many unfortunate wanker encounters in Barcelona - the drive-by wank technique is common. They pull up, casually ask for directions and begin wanking.

Of course it’s not just a Barcelona thing. About fifteen years ago, on a beach in San Diego, I was with some friends and we caught a guy furtively fiddling behind a rock. I wish I could say we showered him in rocks and insults, but we were too disgusted and ashamed of the situation to do anything about it. One time, when I was valet parking at a department store in San Francisco, I had to escort several of the shopgirls to their cars because a vagrant was wanking in the alleyway. I remember these days were hot, like today.