Adventures in the Coche Market | Chronicles of Caracas III

When people are overwhelmed by countless stimuli and emotions, they react in different ways. Some act by reacting equitably to actions that overwhelm them, others flee chaos. What I did was shut up and observe; concentrated, in detail; half a brain pending any possible threat to my life to my belongings, and the other half a brain contemplated the patterns that underlie the depths of chaos.

I fervently believe that in the street we can find the social reality of the majority, in their gestures, in their walking, in their gaze we can notice their most intimate problems. The lack of meat in the fridge, the promised pork that never arrived, the nephew killed “by a settlement of bills”. All the daily stress and frustration is condensed and expelled in every look, in every step, in every cry of every merchant. That is what I observed, the heartbreaking cries of the youngest, eager to make their offers of potato and bedding heard above their sales colleagues, saturating the air and making them see through howling the struggle for survival. That fight of theirs, which is the same as mine.

All this chaos fascinated me, and broken the initial enchantment resulting from the saturation of my senses, I proceeded to concentrate on my objective that morning: to buy food. It wasn’t really difficult at all and I won’t waste much valuable time narrating the fact, apart from the enormous tiredness of searching through price swells and the enormous weight that was adding up behind my back, everything ran relatively normally.

When I arrived at the subway station, I waited about 2 hours before being able to board the first train, added to the time I was waiting to get to the market and the time lost in the journey, were 3 hours and a half lost to move from one side to the other. There was a delay in the metro, a breakdown in the track at the height of El Valle station, forced drivers to reduce their speed considerably making the waiting on the platforms was unbearable.

So insufferable that, while waiting to return home, I could observe four fights, three between women and one between men. I don’t know the details of the first 3, I suppose they had to do with pushing and raping someone else’s personal space. The last one, that of a couple of men, was a repeated story. A woman, victim of the theft of her cell phone without realizing it, complains of the lack of her material good, to which a chunky man responds by taking the darkest of the car that is within his reach.

So they took a young man out of the wagon, his humble flannel was torn to shreds and his cheeks shone with tears of frustration of being accused of a crime of which he had no knowledge; I would bet that it was not the first time that this terrible misunderstanding had happened to him. The little hero slapped the young man, hanged him, tore his clothes and handed him over to the National Guard to be requisitioned. When it was found that he did not have the cell phone, the man disappeared completely. The rest of the story is that man accused of looking with the guards for the one who tore his clothes and led him to live a very unpleasant time.

The outraged man, women peeling, a young mother beating an old lady “because she hit her little boy”, the old lady responding with more punches. The delayed subway, the screams…. and the potatoes and the pineapples and avocados at 3 by 500 BsS and the sun and the sweat and the time and the life. Life which is time.

Caracas Caracas, I sing to you, you shout at me. You teach me.

In January I return to the Mercado de Coche, the money finally covered me.

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Músico, flautista, arreglista y escritor. Since 1995. Caracas, Venezuela

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