REFLECTING back I’m surprised by how little I knew about the Spanish people
THE year was 1970, just. A few weeks had transpired since the New Year’s party and all of my resolutions had been forgotten or rejected. I could tell you the ones I had forgotten, if I remembered them.
The rejected ones were common sense. I mean, who ever heard of jogging back then? Running to get in shape. I tried it but every car that saw me plodding along stopped and insisted I get in with them and they would take me to wherever. No one in this part of Spain had seen jogging before and it was strictly an upsetting commodity if viewed from the interior of the odd passing car.
Those rare few that didn’t stop just honked their horns and shouted rude remarks. Apparently no one in all of southern Spain had ever run down a road before without a reason. These consternations made me reflect on my new home. Something was drastically amiss!
First, during the summer months I had miraculously survived the oppressive heat. Yet, I noticed, no one wore hats while in the sun. Nor did they bother with sunglasses. Nor light clothes. Black was the trend and it wouldn’t be shunned or substituted for relief.
The first restaurant I walked into wearing shorts they generously gave me a blanket to cover myself and insisted I sit in the corner. I tried wearing the same paraphernalia into the bank on a Saturday but that caused such a stir, a polite but quick rejection followed. I was mystified.
Oh, nor did anyone go to the beach to cool off. No one had adapted to their climate in the least. Custom and hereditary habits ruled from two to 300 years ago.
Eating out was just as confusing. Ten billion orange trees thrived in Spain’s glow, yet try to get fresh orange juice, and they brought you a can of it. Even small potatoes came in a can as did string beans.
Fresh could only be had eating with the poor as they couldn’t afford the cans.
Good and gracious were the common folk. But they lived a life pattern that didn’t belong to the geographical situation.
Reflecting back I was surprised to reminisce just how little I knew about these Spanish people.
None of them were caramel coloured small Indians like the beaners we had back in Iowa working on the large sugar beet plantations.
No one seemed to know what a taco was and tortilla wasn’t thin, flat cornbread waiting to be filled.
I never saw a sombrero nor those frilly long dresses of outlandish colour and lace. Nobody was dancing nor clapping castanets.
I suspected I might have taken off from someplace in my mind and landed at another. Which has since proven to be the case.