Greenwich is a perfectly fine subject, but I live in Spain and have to get back there more often since there is so much happening. Plus some of my Readers were beginning to worry that the country had finally buckled under and had been swallowed up by the Earth, the euro or even Germany. But we are all here, somehow. Except for the author of the August chronicles on the Crisis in Madrid, whom we haven’t heard from since the final days of that month. I am still trying to smoke the final installments if they ever were written at all.
The country has been given a boost of morale since the European Union, or the Bank of the European Union, or someone up north who apparently has more money than we do, was going to make things a lot better than they were before. So they say. That translated into two outcomes:
- Several more weeks of fun & games at the outdoor cafés without a care in the world.
- Those people who have a lot of money and can use it to spend on the stock market got loaded the last two weeks because the IBEX shot up a billion points once it learned that someone was going to save the country, which in turn was going to save the banks, which in turn was going to save the country…
And aside from that, life goes on…I think. I was just talking to a friend yesterday and we picked up the subject of the crisis because that is what people talk about these days. I told them about my friend who had described it in such detail and who had disappeared inexplicably, “it depends”, as he would say, and how things were probably going to be all right in the end, and how the crisis maybe wasn’t as bad as some thought. I told them this because they had asked about how America saw Spain, and I told them that America felt that we were on the verge of social and economic collapse and that we were causing their economy to falter. But that was just their opinion, because when they came here, they saw that things weren’t so bad. They weren’t that bad at all.
“Not that bad! They are horrible! They are dreadful. Spainis definitely on the verge of collapse. In fact, it already has collapsed.”
“But look at the bars! Look at the outdoor cafés! They are packed!!”
“But no one’s consuming.”
“But that’s not all. Before we used to go out for dinner nearly every evening. Now we almost never do.”
Holy shit! That was just what the author had told us. Those very words! People used to dish out 30, 40 and 50 euros a night on dining out even in times when they couldn’t afford it. And the restaurants charged us 81% more than they should have even though they knew we couldn’t afford it.
“But what about Ireland.”
“What about Ireland?”
“Ireland looked horrible before the bailout. Madrid looks nothing like that.”
“That’s because Ireland always looked like that. It’s a crappy old economy that got a lift from a couple of big name companies. But it was an illusion. And now they’re just as bad off as ever. They might as well just go emigrate to some other country.”
She certainly seemed well versed in her history…and better versed in showing how well versed she was.
She continued. “People in Spain go out because the always have gone out, even when they didn’t have more than two potatoes and an onion in their pantries. That has nothing to do with the crisis. The crisis exists and it’s getting worse and worse. Don’t think that just because Madrid looks healthy that it isn’t there, because it is. People are going through rough times all over the country. And the worst is yet to come?”
“But in Ireland…” I insisted.
“Screw Ireland! Ireland isn’t Spain and never will be.”