So, what’s happening in Madrid? A ton of stuff. Not that I am seeing much of it since I always seem to find a way of getting bogged down with, well, life. For one thing, it has begun to rain, which may sound like I have nothing to say (partially true), but considering that, until last week, we had gone about five months without a drop of precipation other than that powered by the shower heads, it is kind of newsworthy. Those of you who are visiting right now and are not familiar with Spanish weather patterns might yourselves dismayed by the constant inclement whether these days, but that is sort of the way things work here. Once the rain kicks in, in basically sticks around for weeks on end. If I were a political writer, which for reasons that will become apparent to you, I am not, this would be the perfect introduction to a discussion on the upcoming national election. Stormy weather…unstable atmospheric conditions…dark days…they all work as ideal metaphors for climate. But I am not a political reporter, so let’s drop it.
Halloween is also over, much to the relief of a lot of Spaniards who are against this holiday because they don’t feel it is theirs. They feel it’s not theirs because it isn’t. No argument there. And that’s what gets them all riled up. It’s also what gets me riled up. It’s ours. So what are they doing with it? So, I tell them I agree with them and say, “Screw Halloween in Spain. We don’t want around here. Let’s go egg some kids in costumes. That’ll make us feel better.”
Speaking of mischief behavior, I have noticed that some really get into the tricking part more than the treating. And they are unabashed about it. One little 10-year-old from my school told me the other day that she liked egging on Halloween. Yes, I said “she”, which makes it all the more startling. Most girls don’t engage in this kind of diversion because they think it is stupid, and they are right. But boys tend to take pride in doing things girls find inane, as a kind of useless show of freedom to act. To enhance their point, the focus on the most idiotic activities to once again insist that not only are we free-spirited, we can be jackasses too. But here was this girl unloading this confession on me.
“You what? You egg?” I did too, but those kinds of operations were generally performed when you were a little older and a lot more obnoxious, and were carried out under the utmost secrecy. The pact was clear: no one over the age of thirteen was to know it. And your parents could not know until you were at least out of college, and preferibly married and siring. This child, on the other hand, had no qualms about confiding in her teacher the details of her life as a vandal.
“Why do you do it'”
“‘Cause it’s fun.”
“Oh, I see.” She was right, but she wasn’t supposed to admit that to a grownup. And I wasn’t supposed to admit it either, so I didn’t.
Oh, well. As a potential political reporter which I have no intention of being, this is the moment to say that the month of November is likely to get scarier than Halloween as the big elections are coming up on November 20th. So, I won’t mention that. What you should know is that the date is significant because it just happens to be the anniversary of Franco’s death. Franco, for all you History duffs, was the guy who ran the country for 37 years…without permission. He made life pretty uncomfortable for those who didn’t see eye-to-eye with his way of handling things.
He was not a fan of elections. I don’t think he went as far as to outlaw them; he just kind of forgot to convoke them for 4 decades. He was a man who was clearly satisfied with his performance in goverment and didn’t see the need to share his power with anyone. There is a lot to say about the dictator, but there have also been several books written on him, some by English authors. Franco had one of those agonizingly slow departures from this world; he practically defused rather than expired. It is certainly ironic that elections should be held on the same day, but that is just the lame political writer in me floating to the surface. And I’m not here to talk about one of the most important votes in recent years.