Tuesday, May 15, 2007

All The Time In The World

I thought to say that the Spanish don’t understand time. But I have reconsidered. They understand it only too well. They take the abstract and extend it to its extremes. How else can one explain the – literal – moveable feast that is midday and hence lunchtime?

Perhaps it’s a trait of Spanish culture that they can treat the abstract with such regard. Picasso was but mere canvas to a national pastime, as it were.

The mañana ethos is too facile a description of the Spanish ambivalent adoration of time. It implies a tomorrow, when that tomorrow rarely, if ever, comes. Except when it suits.

To the northern European expat conditioned – variously – by WASPish or Prussian punctiliousness and punctuality, the void that is Spanish time can be hard to fathom.

And so is the Spanish attitude to communication. This is especially unfathomable, given that the Spanish nation has had a mobile phone surgically grafted onto to one of its collective ears. Yet, they don’t phone. They never phone.

I say all this from experience. I still don’t get Spanish time or Spanish communication. How long have I been here? I can’t say. To do so would be to seek to make tangible the abstract. Perhaps I should go native.

To other matters … Here we go again. Summer’s barely on us and the papers are screaming about jellyfish. Unlike last year’s plague, which didn’t happen, it might be a tad more likely this year. Apparently the little blighters have been loitering with intent in the waters around the Balearics during the winter rather than pissing off elsewhere, as is normally the case.

Some of you may know that the Spanish for jellyfish is “medusa”. I have an awful confession to make. I was once in a rock band that was called Medusa. Wasn’t my idea, honest. It was a lousy name especially as we were part of what was the at-the-time south-west Surrey music scene that spawned Graham Parker, The Jam and The Members. Medusa. How embarrassing.


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