Two weeks ago Tom blundered into my Spanish life an hour delayed at 12:00pm. I was reading some Douglas Adams in the arrivals lounge when news of his plane reached my ears. He exited the gate, had a quick bitch, and we greeted each other. It was as if we'd never parted.
That same night we went to a club after having met-up quite coincidentally with our American friend Taylor who was visiting Madrid for one night. Tom had never walked home from a club with the sunrise. Neither had I. It's a strange feeling. Drunk or tired Spaniards and foreigners fumbling their way home, eyes straining with the light, while men in suits 'tsk' past them on their way to work.
Friday was sightseeing so I made sure he saw the sights. When he and we'd seen the sights we had a siesta. Selina and Nicky arrived that evening, within half an hour of each other at 10pm-ish. We hosted a little tapas party at my flat with some of my Spanish friends. There were 10 people in total. Five Spanish on one side of the room chirping away, four English on the other side too nervous to speak and wrapped up in their own catch-ups, and me in the middle flitting between the two groups and the two languages. We had lots of food though: bowls of olives, mussels, crisps; plates of ham and cured meats, croquetas and chips with Bravas sauce; chicken cooked in cream with onions, a quiche and some balsamic flashed salad. With this banquet we had candles and arranged flowers. After the meal we celebrated Nicky's belated birthday with gifts: a notebook, a bottle of wine, a stylish pink Jonas brothers pen, a bar of healthy chocolate and some plasticine. Anna had made her a fantastic cheesecake which would even make a large American baulk and say 'no no, I couldn't'.
The only other real noticeable features of the weekend were: lunching at 'Rasputin' - a Russian restaurant, attending a ridiculous hat party and rowing at Retiro park on the Sunday.
Last weekend I had my brother and some other guys visiting me. Round two of the sightseeing and eating routine. It was free for me this time though, which was nice. I also got sunburned for the first time since my trip to Cuba last year.
Maria: 'All you guiris (affectionate name for foreigners) are the same, one bit of sun and you go red. Didn't you have any cream?'
Luke: 'No, no I didn't' (hangs head in shame and weeps a little)
It has at least provided a few minutes of chit chat with my students this week.
On the subject of this week, it is Easter and I am hoping that today some of my students will take it upon themselves to find something more interesting to do than come to class...like have a life. Although, as a fellow teacher at Talking Point said 'at Easter the ones that come are the ones that literally have nothing else to do...' So I imagine that they will be the extraordinarily interesting students that always have 'normal' weekends when they do 'nothing special' or have lunch in their village... Don't get me wrong, I'm sure their villages are little bubbles of beauty teetering prettily away from the hustle and bustle and tourism of the capital, but, let's be honest, it's not...exciting is it? I always need a plan. I always need something to do. Something to make me seize the day. Carpe Diem or nothing. This Friday I am going to Cuenca for the day.
I can't - well I can but I don't want to - understand how people can laze around in bed until 2pm in the afternoon. I know it's nice and comfy. I know very well, too well, the seductive attraction of warm blankets while the outside world is cold and ordered. Go away! Leave me to the fuzzy chaos of my dreams and my warmth. I'm not saying you need to get up and work. Heaven forbid! But you have this little world, go and see it. See it before you have to go back to real work on Monday.
I recently watched an Australian version of 'Question Time' called 'Q and A'. It was quite good, lively. I was watching it because Richard Dawkins was on it. Some of you may know that I rather like the guy. Another panellist was Julie Bishop, who is the deputy leader of the Opposition and shadow minister for foreign affairs. An intelligent and liberal woman. She coped pretty well throughout the whole debate, which mostly focussed on Dawkins and his views. Good for me as that's what I wanted to see.
Anyway, at the end, to conclude, the presenter asked a question to all the panellists (God-folk: a creationist, a couple of Christians and a rabbi).
He said: 'Do you wish for or indeed hope for an afterlife?'
Julie Bishop's response was: 'Well, I hope this is not it. I mean, is this it?', she laughed.
They ended with Dawkins: 'Let's be realistic about this. We have brains. It's the brains that do the thinking. Our brains are going to decay. That will be that. - cue titters from the audience and scoffs from the panellists - But when you say, "is this it?" How much more do you want? I mean, this is wonderful!' Cue round of applause.
I couldn't agree with him more. Talk about summing it all up perfectly. People who take it all for granted for whatever reason, religious apathy, general laziness, simple-mindedness, you people, hear me.
I don't like you.
In fact, you suck.
You are wasting all the oxygen.
Go to France or a cave. (No offence France, you're lovely really) ((No offence cave...I'm sure you're great too))
The wasters, the polluters (a little hypocritical, but I mean proper polluters), the rubbish throwers, the animal mistreaters, the 'oh...wow...mountains...thanks for the holiday, where's the McDonalds' people, the I-look-forward-to-the-afterlife and the 'this world is boring without computers' people. Take solace and know that I hate you all. I'm not talking biblical or murderous hate. I mean that 'I'd happily slap sense into your face if it were legal' kind of hate.
Open your eyes.
Turn off your console if it's a sunny day.
Go for a walk.
Breathe in the sweet air.
Remember what social connections used to feel like.
Remember what natural connection used to feel like.
Remember that you're lucky to exist.
Or take a hike.