The city council of Santa Cruz de Tenerife intends to fine up to 750 euros to those who pee in the street during carnivals. Actually, the sanction is contemplated in the new municipal cleaning ordinance, which comes into force in a few days, and which also includes smoking on the beach, spitting on public roads or depositing garbage outside the containers as penalized. These last three objectives are very reasonable and what is surprising is that they have not yet been sanctioned. Pissing in the street, and not only at carnivals, on the other hand, is an anthropological trait of chicharreros, and I’m afraid that even with sapper units from the Army, it won’t be possible to suppress it.
Everybody pees during Carnival, watering the streets, gardens, parks and squares in the center of Santa Cruz de Tenerife with hectoliters of urine. Everyone is at least 90% of the population. This custom, already elevated to a rite of passage, began to be widely practiced in the 1970s, when carnivals began to spread and became large outdoor dances. Before, during the Franco regime, and with very rare exceptions, carnival parties were held in casinos, clubs, recreational societies and more or less closed venues. We’ve been pissing in the streets during Carnival for about half a century, but it must be admitted that the chicharrero has always had a certain inclination towards urinating on street corners. Perhaps it is a way of marking territory, as other mammals do. Probably the Santa Cruz intuits –and he is not completely right– that his city hardly exists –you will find very little of Santa Cruz in local literature, music or cinema– and he needs proof that, in some way, he can Possess it, you can live it, you can leave a mark on it, even if it is by squeezing the sphincters. Especially in his neighbourhood, because here the neighbor pees in his beloved neighbourhood, as in carnivals he pees, if the haste dictates nothing else, in well-known streets and doorways and, therefore, reassuring and even comforting. I know those who have changed jobs, homes, partners and drugs but always pee faithfully, with the mask on, in the same places year after year.
During the first night of the festivities, the girls are prudent, but soon, very soon, they will run out of finesse and restraint and they will end up pissing in the doorways, sheltered behind the garbage cans, exploring the flower beds like Dr. Livingstone I guess, transforming the streetlights into urinals, urinating from the top of a vehicle disguised as a float, liquefying alive at the doors of churches and schools. An oral tradition tells that two pissers found the door of a private house open on Cruz Verde street and they entered at full speed but did not reach the bathroom and they did so in a dark corridor, but what I could see, hear, smell was a girl coherently disguised as a pig hiding her huge butt behind the Tigre canyon to undertake “a long and warm piss”, as Álvaro de Laiglesia, that forgotten poet from La Codorniz, wrote. Pissing in the streets at carnivals is understood as a physiological routine fully integrated into the party’s identity. Perhaps the most universally practiced act of freedom or debauchery from the Annunciator Parade to Piñata Sunday (all in capital letters). In some carnivals, already on the verge of drunkenness, I asked a very intelligent journalist if he believed that in the carnival Santa Cruz one urinated more than fornicated. He scratched his head, nodded slightly, and said, “Wait for me, I’m going to pee.” Seven hundred and fifty euros for pissing in the street. Either they burn the town hall or the municipal government will be able to abolish all municipal taxes and fees.