Friday, January 8, 2010

David Byrne Says...

The Saint of Unemployment
-- Buenos Aires
"I ride further our from the center of town. I don't have a destination. I stumble upon a feria -- a village fair -- this one an outdoor festival that celebrates gaucho and country culture. It takes place in a small plaza out in the suburbs. On the way I pass a queue of people. One sees only the line, no destination or end -- just people standing, patiently, and occasionally inching forward, but toward what is unclear. This line is so long that it disappears somewhere down the road, and where it ends is too far away to tell. The line snakes through a succession of neighborhoods, in and out of small town centers. It disappears from my view and then incredibly it suddenly appears again. Its four kilometers long at least. Half a million people or more, so I am told later, waiting to see San Cayetano, the patron saint of the unemployed. This is the saint that people pray to when they are in need of work, and today is his day. All the local roads in the area around the church where the saint is housed are blocked off by the police. The people come to pray for work, for employment. Some of them come carrying a few stalks of DayGlo-dyed wheat, which they will take home in remembrance, while others will leave with nothing"

From David Byrne's Bicycle Diaries

No comments: