Spanish Games, Rage Walks and “Jell-O” Fish

So you want to visit Spain, you say? Well, naturally you do! Spain is a country of warm golden sunshine, sexy swaying greenery and delightful comestibles, not to mention plenty of fascinating history and a rather attractive populace. There’s only one thing you have to really, really know. What’s that you say? Is Spanish the sole requisite? No, my fine friend. While it might be very nice to be familiar with the native language of the country to which you wish to travel, it’s mostly unnecessary in Spain; you really need only one key, which I’ll reveal in just a moment. What you need, dear reader, is to be proficient–no, no highly versed–no! not that still–dare I say expert at a very special game I like to call by its highly technical name: Hurry Up And Wait. The key phrase of which I spoke before is very simple, and you’ll need to have it in your quick employ for the lines in which you’ll find yourself soon after arriving in Spain–probably at the airport: “Eres el/la último/a?” (Are you the last? [in line]).

(This is my life, basically, minus the…er… Afghani-ness)

As a native of neurotic New England, I myself am not a learned practitioner of this delicate, graceful game of poise and patience, but I’m learning. Or rather I’m being forced to play this demeaning and spirit-grating game.

In the past week I’ve spent no fewer than four hours in line at the Escuela de Idiomas Goya. And though I took the placement test yesterday and returned both this morning AND this afternoon to claim a spot in class, I’m still classless and OH, am I irritated. But let’s not talk about that now. Let’s talk about my delightful rage walk today.

Due to the clusterfuckery at the Escuela de Idiomas circa 9:30 a.m., a run-in with my school’s headmistress (not as sexy an encounter as it sounds) and a metro ride during which I was lodged beside the most noxious smelling man in existence (two days in a row now! How there can be two of them in Madrid that smell that awful and how, pray tell, they always end up next to me is one of the world’s great mysteries) I was a little, like a hemophiliac in a porcupine petting zoo. On the way back home today line 6 paused in the tunnels three times for about 10 minutes each. Yeah. I arrived home to find that someone had left the elevator door open on the sixth floor, which meant I couldn’t ride it up to the 9th. What did I do? I let rip a heartfelt “¡puta de madre!” kicked the staircase and started climbing. In case you were wondering, yes: I did indeed hop into the elevator on the 6th floor and ride three floors up. Fuming.

I then arrived home to discover that someone had eaten my bread, rendering me goat cheese sandwichless. Cool. That was almost the sandwich that broke the camel’s back, but I bucked up at the thought of putting my leftovers to good use instead.

By that point I recognized I was not at all fit for human company. I decided that, in place of staying home sulking in my room or inflicting myself upon the rest of the human race, I’d ride the metro to Tribunal (the stop for the language school, where I had to go in a few hours) and aimlessly walk around until the clock struck six. Which is exactly what I did.

Though I took to the streets itching for blood, by the end of my tromp my mood had been significantly lightened by a number of happy events. I discovered that my new piso (the one to which I’m hopefully moving this weekend) is startlingly near to Gran Vía. I then discovered that Gran Vía is startlingly near to Tribunal, which resulted in my full cognizance of the fact that my new piso is merely a few blocks over from not only what is quite possibly my favorite street in Madrid (Calle Fuencarral), but near to Talia, too! Not to mention my pad’s proximity to a pantload of sex shops, gay porn stores, dodgy looking clubs and truly delectable looking restaurants. My rage walk was turned  into a fullblown, breathless and effervescent adventure walk when I received a much needed 90ish minute phone call from a much loved boy named Greg. Wandering into a tea shop where I sampled a brew by the name of “Secrets of India” with big lumps of rock candy brown sugar for sweetener also helped. 🙂

The rest of the evening’s passed me by in relative ease and delight. I cooked Spanish eggs (nothing more complicated than eggs fried to a delicate pillowy tenderness in a bunch of olive oil) with pisto (er…roasted vegetable mash in tomatoes?) and some really glorious whole wheat bread I bought from the bakery down the street. I topped it off with my new fetish: greek yogurt which comes ready made with three of my woodland-creaturey delights (raisins, figs and hazelnuts). All that’s left to do now is draw a worksheet to go with the book I’m reading my primary schoolers on Friday (Called “My Cat Likes to Hide In Boxes.” The illustrations are nothing short of masterpieces) hop in the shower and settle down for my third to last night in my temporary housing.

Oh! Also, due to a worksheet I helped my 3rd graders with today, I rediscovered what “merlusa” is.

And consequently re-remembered that I ate it in Córdoba. And was resultingly nearly sicker than I felt next to the man who smelled like a mixture of Stilton, Listerine and bog.

That white stuff IS as gelatinous as it looks.

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