Friday, May 6, 2016

Old Friends

Jose Mari & Santos
I see them in the bar every morning. They’re not the most talkative of couples, but they appear to enjoy each other’s company, even if I have never seen them facing each other, let alone – Heaven forbid – holding a conversation. I know very little about either of them; just their names and a few things that I’ve observed over the past ten years or so.

Jose Mari must be about 72, at a guess  I like to be precise in my guesses , and is becoming increasingly unsteady on his feet. He uses his walking stick to fend off customers who would like to read the bar’s newspaper that he’s just bagsed for himself. Once he’s finished reading, he pulls his stick away, and it’s safe to move in. When he’s not reading the paper, he looks into the distance, and a faint smile sets in as he recalls whatever it is that he is trying to recall.

Judging by the clothes he wears, I think it’s safe to assume that he lives on his own, though I honestly have no idea. I used to see him in church on Sunday mornings operating the projector with the words to the hymns. Recently, however, a younger chap (68-ish?) has taken over that role. I do hope Jose Mari didn’t lose his faith at the same time as he lost his job.

Santos turned 66 last November. Or 67 last July? I haven’t a clue, to be honest, but he’s definitely a good few years younger than his table mate. He also dresses rather more smartly, so I reckon he must still have somebody at home looking out for him. Santos never reads the paper, preferring instead to sit there and meditate on life in his own way while looking down at the floor. 

When he was younger, Santos used to enter the bar and burst into song, terrifying his British fanbase in the process as I tried to concentrate on my coffee and croissant. Nowadays, Santos is somewhat quieter, and the years are clearly beginning to take their toll. That said, he is still known to pipe up on occasions; usually to curse his country’s political leaders, a sentiment almost certainly shared by his fellow customers.

Well, that’s all I have to say about this odd couple who, despite never having addressed a single word to each other, would appear to be perfectly content to just sit there in silence and watch the world go by. Or watch the ground go by, in Santos’ case. And I find their friendship very moving.


Patos, patos y más patos. ¿Dónde están las ardillas?

Ducks, ducks and more ducks. Where are the squirrels?

–¿Prefieres en el sol o en la sombra?
–En el sol.
–Yo también. A ver si deja de llover pronto.

–Do you prefer in the sun or in the shade?
–In the sun.
–Me too. Let’s hope it stops raining soon.

–Esto parece un buen sitio. ¿Nos sentamos aquí?
–Tú primero.

–This looks like a nice spot. Shall we sit here?
–After you.

Cuidado con las caquitas de perro.

Mind the dog turds.

–¿Has visto a esa pareja?
–No tienen vergüenza.

–Have you seen that couple?
–They ought to be ashamed of themselves.

–¿Damos de comer a los patos?
–¿Con qué? Sólo tengo chicles.
–¿De qué sabor?

–Shall we feed the ducks?
–What with? All I’ve got is chewing gum.
–What flavour?

–¿Has visto a mi madre?
–Estaba al lado de la fuente, hablando con los vagabundos.

–Have you seen my mother?
–She was by the fountain, talking to the tramps.

–¿Nos puede sacar una foto, por favor?
–Claro que sí. ¿Con o sin las grúas en el fondo?

–Can you take a photo of us, please?
–Yes, of course. With or without the cranes in the background?

Spanglish for Impatient People 2, Lesson 10, "in the park"

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