I AM troubled by a recent posting on Facebook written by an acquaintance living here in Mojacar announcing to all and sundry he is entering his ninth week of subsisting at a high standard of living and level of contentment yet, not having spoken one word of Spanish in that time!
The fact that he had kept such a detailed ledger concerning his own superlative ignorance amazed me. But then again, it confirmed the fact that he had passed long before his body landed on these golden shores. When Karen and I arrived there weren’t more than two people within a reachable proximity that were bilingual. You had to learn the language and as you found out quickly, and as the Spanish themselves attest: “to learn to defend yourself.”
Hell, this guy hasn’t climbed high enough on the Darwin scale to be even judged as he was obviously brain insensitive long before someone packed him up and moved his breathing corpse to Spain. At birth the divine intuitive spirit never metamorphosis into even a kernel of curiosity. Not a hint of bravado. Nor a spark of nothing. Nada de nada. A skeletal frame supporting skin.
I doubt if he even fulfilled the Kafkaesque description of modern man; smoked cigarettes, fornicated and read newspapers. I especially shudder when thinking of those far off places wherein the inhabitants are condemned to live a subsistence life to obtain food to survive. Worry not, our untroubled itinerant local inhabitant would never even dream of going there without first considering lighting himself on fire.
Excusably, this minor-league hero is not totally at fault. The UK being what it is just too familiar and comfortable to be given up easily. Generations of customs and civil deportment have accentuated the necessity for fitting in and if not walking the line, at least enduring the cue with a buttoned lip. The bright life in Spain is a totally different circumstance, guided by few and criticised by even less.
But to not bother to learn about your newly adapted home, its cultural heritage, places to visit and books to read seems more wilfully destructive than just plain dumb and lazy. Does Spain need cultural cops like back in England that bombard a nation of new mothers, reminding them to not leave their tiny babies in the bath alone for too long while they chat up the mailman?
As you’ve learned by now, Spain isn’t that sort of place. You take them as you find them and share with them what you deem you can. Whereas the Spaniard lurks within shouting distance to introduce you to new wines, food flavours and minor but exciting routine-breaking adventures that will give you enough to write home about, as if you’ve just experienced a trip down the Amazon in a canoe full of Spaniards armed with no paddles.
Exciting even if you don’t want it.