La Cuenta

In Plenary, Production on September 26, 2010 at 11:50 am

Crédito. I have my first evening of socialising since getting here, with a colleague in Algeciras. We try out a few beers in a few bars (nice bars in Algeciras!) and then we down a bottle of red on the balcony. And then we down a bottle of white on the balcony. It means I spend a little money I don’t have but it is good to talk and get out of my solitary routine. And to get very, very drunk.

Débito. Predictably, the following day is not a pleasant experience.

Crédito. Finally move into the apartment we’ll be in for the next year, which is to say, our new home. It has been left spotlessly clean for me and there is a bidet. I’ve never had a bidet.

Débito. Wandering up Calle Nuestra Senora de la Luz with Misfit Love by Queens Of The Stone Age on my mp3 player. As the final coda begins towards the end of the track a car horn penetrates the music. I turn around and the car that belongs to the horn is crawling along behind me. I deduce from the driver’s facial expression that it is not the first time he has honked. This is not a pedestrian street and I am an idiot.

When I make way for him he chooses to stick around for a while, driving alongside slowly and shouting what I don’t doubt are obscenities at me; he is something of a wit, it would appear, because several people are chuckling away. I don’t know the Spanish for “F**k you” so I just wave at him.

Crédito. It rains in Tarifa. Properly. A real downpour. To an Irishman this is like having a red carpet rolled out in welcome. In some countries, I’m given to understand, people regard rain as an inconvenience. Apparently they don’t like getting wet. We Irish on the other hand regard it as on a par with a day spent at an exclusive spa resort – cleansing and moisturising.

Débito. I sleep right through it. Damn that Fino sherry.

Crédito. There is a barman, in a bar, in Tarifa, who knows what I want before I ask for it. I can’t emphasise strongly enough what a crucial development this is. Little things mean a lot. It’s a beer, by the way – what I want, that is – so hardly rocket science but still, I applaud his memory and his mastery of this simple but important undertaking!

Débito. The bus passes by my stop on the way to the English school despite my pressing the request button. I have to get off at the next stop which is a place I have never been to in an area I do not know, a good distance further on. Just another instance of the strange micro-catastrophes that can strike when you’re the new guy and you don’t speak the language. The best way to make my way back is by no means obvious to me. I end up scrambling across dangerously busy intersections and roundabouts before finding myself in a massive, maze-like and new-built suburb. I make it to the school in time, but drenched in stress induced perspiration.

Crédito. The detour affords me my best views yet of the Rock of Gibraltar across the bay.

Débito. K is still not here and I won’t lie to you – it’s becoming an issue. I’ve had nobody to feed or to tell me exactly what I’m doing wrong for weeks and I’m beginning to deteriorate for lack of guidance. I’ve been here almost a month now but it won’t be right till K and the lagomorph join me. Especially K. Sorry lagomorph.

Crédito. In the new apartment, I notice that the door to the spare bedroom doesn’t shut properly. I get a knife from the kitchen and adjust the bracket in the door frame – then I pull the door closed and hear what I want to hear – that satisfying little click as the door shuts securely for the first time. DIY hero.

Débito. Now it won’t open. It won’t open and my things are in there and the light is on and it won’t budge. I pace up and down swearing for a little while and then I call K to tell her about my little disaster. It is the morning after drinks in Algeciras and, in a fragile state, I don’t need this. I am not calm while talking on the phone to K. She points out, quite reasonably, that it is difficult for her to help, situated as she is in another country. I find this infuriating but am forced to concede the logic. In the end I have to go to a hardware store on her advice and get myself a hammer and a screwdriver which I use to force the thing open, causing some damage. Now I’ll have to paint it as well. DIY zero.

En total: Break even, books balanced. A week in the course of which life moves on and the wear-and-tear sustained is within acceptable limits. Note to self; learn the Spanish for “F**k you”.

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  1. Such a great story and so true that our days are full of constant ups and downs.

  2. Thanks Ayngelina. It’s all ups and downs and break even is a great result as long as the ride was fun!

  3. I love that feeling of finally becoming a ‘regular’ somewhere. One step closer to home.

    • Yup. Without K here I’ve been my usual solitary self in most respects. Establishing eye contact and a curt nod from a barman who proceeds to pour me a beer without asking is a major social accomplishment for me…

  4. Hilarious! Love the style. As for DIY – you’re more honest than most men…thankfully I weild a hammer like Thor.
    Nonsense aside – glad you settling (somewhat).
    Via con Dios!

  5. Muchas gracias! I find it’s not so much wielding a hammer well that is the issue, so much as avoiding the kind of mistakes that make a hammer necessary…

  6. “que te den (por el culo)” will probably do the trick (for “fuck you”) !!

  7. I came across that but I went with another option for the title of the subsequent post;
    You should let me know if I made the right choice!

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