I was a diligent merchant at the weekend neighborhood flea market, which had been held since the ‘90s in Acapulco Park in spite of numerous closures and closings. In the flea market, you could sell things from clothing and unused shoes to cribs, it was a very informal and ecological place where the buyer-seller relationship was established between the interested parties. The flea market became very popular, among other things, because in a city of two million inhabitants, there was nothing else like it. In the face of the public outpouring and suspecting illegal economic activity, instead of letting the police do their job, the flea market was permanently closed last summer. I was recently advised, to my surprise, that the flea market had “moved” to 26th Avenue and Conill, to a small and rough area of concrete next to the gas station at that intersection. I had made some handcrafts for Christmas, so I took them with me to my new flea market. I wasn’t there more than half an hour, I had not even sold one Santa with an “Industrial T-shirt” (they looked really cute) before I heard, we all heard, the following warning from an official:
-You are all responsible for making sure that no one is able sell things here if they are not on the list, otherwise, I will close the flea market and it will be finished.
The official had a beer belly and the look of someone who has been dragged involuntarily out of bed on a Saturday, someone said he was “the Delegate.”
A woman who they also told me was a delegate of the People came to me very kindly and said:
-If you’re not on the registration list, pick up your things and go.
-Look, it’s just that I am the founder of the flea market in the park…
-Do you see a park here? This is something different, unless you registered two weeks ago and are on the list, you cannot sell things here because the inspectors are coming.
-Yes, inspectors, and they will impose fines.
-You cannot sell new clothes, or used things, no food, no beverages or tobacco or cigars, or electronic effects.
-Yes, sweetheart, you cannot sell cellular phones, computer memory, mp3 and stuff like that.
-Oh! But I don’t have any of that.
-Oh, yes sweetheart, I see. Leave me your name and your phone number so I can see if you are approved to be on the list. (The underlined name is mine)
-I don’t have a phone.
-No? it doesn’t matter, I will give you my phone number and you can call me for next weekend, OK?
Even for something as innocent as a neighborhood flea market, one has to get through checkpoints and suspicions, the syndrome of what is not allowed is forbidden. Like everything else.