A Sad Clown, yesterday (the best I could find on Google images)
So, I saw something interesting, this evening, when I went out for a stroll in my adopted home city. I live pretty close to one of the old main streets - La calle de la Princesa - leading into the centre, and there is a big department store (El Corte Inglés, if you must know: think Selfridges/Bloomingdale's but a little cheaper) sitting on the corner of the road at the end of my neighbourhood block and Princesa. It's a popular meeting spot, and one often sees people waiting for friends and such.
Tonight, El Corte Inglés were promoting the start of Book Week in Spain with an outdoor discount stall, so I thought I'd go down and have a look, like the crazy rock-and-roller that I am. After leaving pretty unimpressed with the glut of typical lifestyle bestsellers, popular fiction authors (not that I have anything against that, I just know I can get it cheaper elsewhere) and translations of novels originally written in English on offer, I decided to head back. As I walked up the street towards my house, I heard a rattling of wheels, as if someone were rolling a suitcase. Sure enough, when I turned round to see, there was someone rolling a suitcase: a clown, in full make-up, costume, wig and comedy nose. On his way home, or maybe to another gig, he walked along the road slowly and I felt that classic sympathy engendered by the vision of a middle-aged clown juxtaposed against the backdrop of an ordinary weeknight in a capital city. For this entertainer, bound to feign happiness and amiability for the sake of his career, had no need to be dressed up, no obligation to the people around him, but he'd kept his mask on: literally.
I suspect that it is probably my pseudo-philosophical side kicking in, but I felt we all shared something in common with the clown. Dressed in the uniform of his life and career, carrying his tools and other baggage behind him, tired and intropective at the end of a busy day, what made him any different from the banker, the teacher, the policeman and indeed the student out for a walk?
This is why I love city life. Ironically, a pretty bizarre, extraordinary and unusal sight made me realise how similar, mundane and normal we all are, despite our superficial differences.
Alternatively, I just saw a clown on the way home from work, still dressed in his costume, and there's no more to it. You decide.