In Plenary on October 31, 2013 at 11:43 am
Suddenly it’s dark when I finish work and as I walk through El Cobre, the neighborhood reveals a little of its nocturnal self. The change in the time, abrupt and artificial, appears to have a very real effect – there are people around now as I go on my way that I’ve never seen before, stepping out of alleyways and hanging around in doorways. Of course, they were there all along; it’s my routine that’s been shifted forward, into the darkness – mine and anyone else who works, or who has any reason to be in a particular place at a particular time. Most of the new faces are lined; the older generation around here, having no such obligations, live the way their grandparents would have – by the sun.
The change of hours provides a glimpse of our own artifice – the gridwork of language and number that we graft onto the world. Twice a year, a little slip between clock time and real time, a tiny tremor along the fault line that runs between the two and we have an hour stolen from us, or we get this extra one that jars at first before settling in.
The gable wall of a crumbling old house glows green, bathed in the light of the pharmacy cross; I think it is green, and wonder why I’ve never noticed in the daytime, till it flickers. Further up toward the main road more flashes of light against a wall, this time emanating in horror movie fits and starts from a welder’s workshop, frankenstein sparks flying and filling the night outside with the visual rhythms of an electrical storm. More
In Practice on October 12, 2011 at 10:36 am
Lessons have begun again. We’ve been joined by Stefan, a German who has been here for eleven years, and someone else is due next week. In a fortnight or so there’ll be five of us we’re told by Luis, the teacher. Two hours is a pretty punishing length of time to sit still and attempt to acquire language, but none of us can make it on any other day but Friday. We feel fairly smug studying alongside someone who’s been here so long, so we must guard against that I suppose.
We like Luis – he likes food and wine, the Arab history of Spain and getting out into the open country, so we feel compatible. Also, he’s from Madrid, so when he speaks we understand it, as opposed to the consonant-free andaluz of the average Tarifeño. Well, K understands him. I do my best. Picking up between forty and sixty percent and guessing at the rest seems to be working for me so far. Given my distractable nature it’s more or less what I’ve been doing with English all my life, so no big change.
He’s invited us along the next time he and his “little group” go walking in the mountains. I will pester him about it too, until he honours the invitation. We need to find ourselves more frequently in the company of Spaniards. Especially K; unlike her I spend my days in Spain and not in glorious British isolation on the Rock but, to be honest, when it comes to reaching my goal of good conversational Spanish “Teacher! Alejandro stuck his pen in my arm!” doesn’t really help. Read the rest of this entry »