IN the early 70’s we could afford only one car.
Naturally I kept it for business. When there wasn’t work to be done I was in it visiting multifarious watering holes, seeking out the best tapas in the strangest of places. If I got a good buzz going I would gather all my courage and venture a trip to the village, where I was as welcome as bubonic plague.
The economy was harsh and stringent then, what money there was, was to be only used for drinking. You didn’t see many foreign village people up before high noon. Those stumbling about knew they had to appear at the required venue, the Hotel Indalo on the main square. Gulping back espressos and brandy kept both hands occupied, getting cured.
The conversations weren’t enlightening; “Boy was I pissed last night. Tried to do the full round but only managed six stops.” “Hold it, interjected his cross table friend, “I got totally pissed on Thursday, totally legless by 9pm. Had to call the wife to come and collect me. Thank God for those little builder’s dumpers. Got into one of them and they took me back to the main square.”
Then home I’d shoot as I had garnered enough alibi to cover my entire day’s outing. “Been to the village,” I announced, avoiding a litany of probing questions. “Nothing new, boring. Everyone bragging about how pissed they were. It’s a tribal thing”.
“Pissed,” she enquired, “pissed at what?” I had forgotten, she hadn’t been to the village enough to learn British pissed, as in America it means to be totally angry at someone, whereas in higher culture, on the mountain top, pissed just meant fully saturated with drink again, and again.
That exchange bothered me. I resolved I would have to sacrifice her pure integrity and take her to the village and let her witness first-hand the most boring vaudeville routine ever re-enacted since the sun starting showing up.
Now the 8pm programme was lively, raucous and fun to view. Some English guy, dressed in suit and tie of course would come riding by on a donkey he just stole, being chased by the owners.
They’d be waving walking canes and tree branches to bash the culprit but he always escaped by buying them drinks and tapas; a luxury most of them couldn’t afford.
Furthermore, the local Spanish residents were totally accustomed to the outrageous behaviour of their local conquering residents. They were long past berating those strangely dressed circus types that had invaded the village.
They had also learned that a common streak of justice flowed through their veins and any damages would be replaced and fully compensated.
The only cultural fall out from the daily show was that when a real circus game to town; no one attended, neither foreign nor national. They all revelled in sharing their own private channel controlling their entertainment and diversion.