International Writers Magazine- What Me Worry?:
It's a hap-hap-happy day
so the old song goes from Gullivers travels in the land of
Lilliput! I live in an equally fun country. No matter how bad things
are around the planet, Spain, its government and its people always
look on the bright side. If there is a fishermens strike,
the catch of the day is handed out as a freebee to the community.
For a week or so, truckers around the country paralyzed the highways
and cities. So what! The housewives took it with a pinch of salt
and stocked up with everything from Soy sauce to toothpicks.
were full. Six month ago, our president Rodrigo Zapatero said that we
were in the Champions League of the economic growing countries.
He said that we were better off than Italy and France. From a local
perspective, that is, the area of my abode as the British passport
forms imply - the regional government announced yesterday with great
pomp and circumstance that our city will be connected with Madrid by
high-speed train no later than the year 2015. In their construction
shopping list they included refurbishing our airport, a new 1800 bed
hospital, an upgrade of our outdated port facilities, a super concert
hall and half a dozen new parking lots to cope with the ever increasing
number of cars invading the center of town. In the meantime the communist
mayor had just presented in Brussels to the organizing committee the
citys CV to host the 2012 University Olympics known as Universiade
(Latin) and although they lost, were given the green light to prepare
for the same event in 2015. And the money for all this? No problem,
as the Jamaicans say. Weve always got the European Union to bail
Personally, I was also in a good mood.
I had just returned from my annual prostate and general medical check
up; once again the doctor gave me another twelve months breather whilst
I was watching the pompous display of goodies on the goggle boxs
midday local news with a double smile on my face. How about that
for good news, I thought. I forgot about the increase in petrol
prices, the drop in economic growth, the fishing fleet locked up in
the cupboard and my wife complaining about the cost of lemons. Its
also summertime and I have retreated to my small flat by the sea.
The school term has ended and the kids are out on their bikes or skateboards,
playing football and driving their grandparents wild as they shelve
their books till next term. The beaches are crowded, the restaurants
have opened their terraces, the tapas bars are flush with
seafood, the beer and wine is flowing, the nightclubs are in full swing
and even the unemployed are smiling. Im no longer a representative
of HMG, so I dont have to cater for my fellow countrymen if they
fall off a bus and break a leg. My weekly column in the local rag is
in full swing and has just celebrated its 4th year. To cap it all, my
publisher in India has included yet another one of my essays for this
years annual review (The Taj Mahal), yet another set of reasons
for being complacent. I havent sold many copies of my novel The
Goa File (about the Falklands war in 1982) except that the
Governor of the islands has ordered two copies. Bully for me!
On the international front, Spain has just gone through to the finals
of the European Football championship. Fingers crossed as I go to press
for the final. George Bush is fading away, Berlusconi has a new in
look, Hugo Chavez is dishing out free oil to all the underdog nations
of the world and Qatar airlines now offer double beds on their intercontinental
flights. Britain still frets about Europe and the Euro, France and Germany
have eradicated racial hatred, power windmills are all over the planet,
Al Gore will probably be given an honorary knighthood and Ive
got Bob Dylan on my home patch, live to 5000 fans waiting
to mob him. The world weather watchers predict a slowdown. What does
that mean? Can we expect less rainfall, or rainfall in the right places
and at the right time? I cross my fingers thinking of the coral reefs.
Why? Ive actually seen them when they were alive! Parrot fish,
groupers, lobsters and moray eels are still fresh in my mind. So are
rum punch and coconut juice and a cool breeze from the aftermath of
a hurricane. Will they all come back again once the planet slows down?
Am I living in a dream? Am I making all this up? Are all those happy
people around me faking it or just postponing the agony for a few months?
No I say, No! I will not let the Ides of July
break me down! I join the Spaniards in Mañana and
no problem. Im sure the world is not in such a bad
shape as everyone says. Im looking out of the window as I write
this trash. Im opposite the park. I see a couple of pigeons making
love in a tree as a brown squirrel hops in front of them with a pinecone
stuck to its teeth. The sea is a few metres away. Its 30 degrees and
the powerboats are at full throttle weaving their way between the catamarans
and the odd scuba diver. My portable radio is crowing with a small unknown
chorus piece. My feel for pop music died 20 years ago. My wife has just
reminded me its lunch time. Open the wine, she utters from
the kitchen. Thats my contribution to the meal other than setting
the small table on the porch.
Thats the beauty of living in a wine producing country. Plonk
is exported whilst a reasonable three-year-old is at 3 Euros a bottle.
No kidding! Half a dozen fresh grilled sardines appear before me. A
mixed Mediterranean style salad is placed beside them. Olive oil and
wine vinegar plus a dash of salt are all you need to savour the greens.
My wife smiles as if she has just accomplished a culinary milestone.
Im switching off to scoff my fish. Back in a tick!
Im back to my Toshiba laptop. By the way, its 10 years old!
Had the hard disk changed as it packed up about 6 months ago! The IT
mechanics managed to install Windows 2000 as well as Office. No Internet
or Outlook Express though; this is a true virgin computer isolated from
Ive got to go into town, about 5 miles away to pick up the mail.
Bills, bills and more bills fill my postal box. Then I see my pension
cheque. Bloody pound has dropped again! So what, its still 30
degrees outside and hot. The terrace bar across the road offers good
Heineken draft at 1.50 Euros a shot. Would you like a tapa
of cured ham and salmon to go with it? says my old friend Manuel
(not the guy from Fawlty Towers). Why not, I answer. My
doctor cant see me. Time goes by. My wife turns up with some shopping.
Breads gone up! she says, carrying two loaves. So
what, I think again. Thats a ten percent increase from last
week. Multiplied by 30 it works out at 3 Euros more per month.
Back to reality. Mortgages closed for the winter, floods in USA, killings
in Afghanistan, riots in Indonesia, Zimbabwe down the drains, Dafur
slowly dying, cockeyed oil producers and fuel companies locked in battle
over prices; both are off their rockers. I open my eyes wide shut
and forget about the clockwork orange. Stanley, all is forgiven.
Keep taking the tablets friends, Im living a Hap-hap happy
© James G. Skinner. July 2008.
all rights reserved - all comments are the writers' own responsibility
- no liability accepted by hackwriters.com or affiliates.