Spaniards are good at arguing.
Sometimes I get the sneaking feeling that they want a little argument. Perhaps an argument would inject a bit of fun into the daily mundanity. Perhaps it’s just fun to argue, to say, “Yes, I’m right, ¡TOMA!” I don’t know. I do know that I’m not very good at it.
This image says it all. The person you see above is María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, more commonly referred to as de la Vega. What a short name, no? She is the former First Deputy Prime Minister and is Mario’s father’s favorite person…okay, I’m being totally sarcastic. Why did I include this image? No reason, except that she has perfected the “Bitch, Please” face. I bet she is ready to argue.
When I say they, I mean Spaniards in general. One can never escape from Mario’s mother’s (hereafter referred to as Pepita) table without a good argument about the amount of food one is eating or, more accurately, not eating. I am not sure when enough would be enough, but I can guarantee you that she would prefer me to leave each meal stuffed to the gills, waddling to the bedroom in order to take a three hour long “I AM SO DAMN FULL” nap.
What’s more, there’s always the argument about whether one’s attire is appropriate. If I wear a coat, I’m missing my scarf. If I wear a scarf, perhaps I should be wearing gloves. If I’m sockless in the morning, I am asked where, exactly, are my slippers? One could catch cold!
I can’t escape it, even far from Pepita’s watchful eye. Just today, as I was waiting on Mario after running, sitting peacefully on a park bench, a group of older Spanish men approached me. “You’ll freeze like that!” one told me, nodding knowingly. I wasn’t sure if he expected an argument, so I just laughed. “Estoy esperando a mi novio,” I told him. “I’m waiting on my boyfriend.” (Mario was running another lap, champion that he is.) “Are you German?” another inquired, a tiny old man with a cute beret. “No, I’m American.” They grinned back at me and I grew a bit unsure of what they wanted after all. I mean, could they possibly care enough about my warmth or lack thereof? The answer, I’ve come to conclude, is yes. But maybe, just maybe, they’d have liked a hearty discussion, too. Too bad I’m just not ready for those types of arguments just yet. Someday …