Your escape word for the holidays!

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© levgenii Meyer
PERSONAL DIGNITY: The Spanish hold their heads high and suffer the consequences.

It is an unusual Spanish word for me to teach you. Yet, within its connotative meanings there is a built-in escape clause that allows you to be left out of immediate consideration for any duty or transaction. Although I warn you, that a good and proper Spanish gentleman would never admit to such a happening. 

The word is ‘Resaca’ and essentially it means (hangover) – a seasonal calamity not infrequent in the 12 days from Christmas to Reyes (January 6th). Most bars and even banks will have a plate full of small cakes and cookies for their esteemed clients to partake. Banks even follow this ageless custom providing bottles of brandy, wine and especially anisette.

Such a welcoming situation presented itself to me back in 1970 on that most infrequent of occasions of me depositing money in my bank account. There, next to me in line were tiny cups to allow you to pour yourself a small vivation while standing aimlessly awaiting your turn at the teller. I sampled it all, but it was the anisette that I especially remember coming back up on me.

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 I have written previously concerning drunkenness. I had lived here a full 19 years before I ever saw a Spaniard inebriated in public, or squabbling and fighting caused by drink. It was a thing that just didn’t happen. Below their dignity no matter how low on society’s class totem pole they might be perceived. A Spaniard always held high his personal dignity and wore it with pride. 

His festive education had come from the hands of his nearest relatives and nearby family. Mojacar pueblo was the contrary to that rule, even well before the 1970s. Unfortunately many of the locals picked up quickly on the novel way of deporting oneself—in public.

(In fairness that Iberian youth had faced nothing stronger than wine while growing up whereas when the foreigners arrived, so did mixed drinks, cocktails and brandy; endless rounds and drinking them quicker than sipping wine. Their home rules gradually became bent and broken). 

Yet, while the foreigners seem to revel in telling everyone within listening distance how inebriated they got last night, the young Spanish held their heads high and suffered the consequences as real men must do—in clanging dried tongue silence. Besides, if the young in the village were to drink too much, it wouldn’t be in front of the local guiris (foreigners) who made a nightly habit of becoming ridiculous. The Mojaqueros’ wildest antics were in private or with their closest true friends.

OK, it’s a word that foreigners can utter but not make pretence about it. Use it lightly to remain with some scent of personal pride and dignity. You are being observed by those closest. They talk amongst themselves more than you can imagine. ‘Resaca’ is a word best whispered during these festive days.

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