I HEARD a light tapping on my front door. Unusual for a sunny morning to have visitors.
I peered out the window flap and saw that it was my new neighbour.
“Don Juan, please come in. Sit and have some coffee. What can I do for you?”
“Ricky, I’ve been worried. You haven’t been up to play tennis for a whole week. Have I done something to offend you?”
Well, I was speechless, this kind, elegant, soft spoken Spanish diplomat was worried about me, an intruder that borrowed his tennis court frequently.I was a little dumb-struck.
“Well, I thought Don Juan we were abusing your gracious offer and the last people I brought up were very loud and swore a lot.”
He snapped a reply, “no, that’s just it, I was enjoying listening to the swearing. I am learning new words. In two weeks I am meeting many American ambassadors at a conference and want to be up on the latest popular American colloquialisms.”
It’s too true, real Americans really only talk in popular jingos, regional sayings and everyday blasphemous exclamations that if listened to frequently create a familiar patter that becomes a language.
Cursing was just a part of adding exciting adjectives to any exclamatory refrain to give it immediate impact and a colourful nuance.
We exchanged a few more pleasantries and he left, dress and all to waddle back up to his very large house that he was renting.
Don Juan was the Spanish ambassador to some place out in the Pacific Ocean where the men wore dresses instead of pants. That didn’t bother me at all.
He was well-travelled, a great story teller and seemed to know everyone in Spain, first hand, of any importance.
He allowed me the use of his tennis court, but lately I had been arriving with lots of new risky people.
Risky in that you never knew whether they even knew how to play tennis nor how to deport themselves on a borrowed court.
The last group I found in Puerto Rey. Now, any Yank that could even find that place back in ’71 looking for a vacation had to be honoured to a certain degree.
Their women were worse in that they’d pull up chairs to watch, drink their drinks and just leave the cans, wrappers for the snacks lying about. But the guys playing took more sport in shouting at the ball, after they had missed it, than concentrating on the game.
Then, they would make jokes between themselves using a special cursing language. Their women would bay like horses and shout down additional disparages to further demean the cause.
It was Hillbillies vs the world in their own hee-haw vernacular.
In any case Don Juan got a kick out of it apparently, although I was embarrassed to the eyes with their unlearned shenanigans and couldn’t get them away quick enough. Sometimes you found someone that could play.
I got Bjorn Bjorg’s coach one time for an entire week. He didn’t swear at all. Got a little worried about him.