May 9, 2004

Cajas and the Nite Out

The eleven boxes (cajas) we sent from Houston finally arrived last Friday. It?s funny how they change the homestead. I guess we has adapted to living out of our suitcases with the few things we had left here before and what we bought in the meantime. Now, we have as many household items you can pack into eleven 24x18x18 boxes.

The books! It?s so great to see them, pull them out and find places to stash them in this big house. Mostly old books half read, ones I wanted to read more thoroughly. Some of them are the old friends. It?s wonderful to see them on these few shelves.

Kitchen stuff, like cutting boards and the knives we like to cook with. Corkscrews, wood spoons, utensils that we have adapted to and now have to come depend on to prepare our food. And clothes, many of them winter clothes. It?s a treat to pull out the knit hats and scarfs against the cold (it?s not so cold here now, but I?m trying to live lean and not gobble up the heat whilst Stephanie?s away... kind of an austerity thing). And studio stuff, things like these great shears and extra paper and paint. I have squirreled away so much paint that the makeshift shelf I devised had crumbled under the wieght of them all. Now I have to wait until this first painting is done before I try to rebuild a better shelf.

Now for a story of the night out with Kiko..

Fransisco (Kiko for short) said he?d be by around 11pm to have a drink with me. That was perfect timing to get some stuff done and cap the night off. I didn?t expect too much, drinks in a bar around the corner and we would call it a night around two, probably.

At the fist bar, "Sa Torre", Kiko tells me of a dilemma he?s contending with. He?s animated: "Dennis, I cannot believe this is happening to me." (Kiko wants to speak English, and so he begins with this but breaks into Spanish at the stumbling blocks.) It seems he is being chased by a guy in town. "I tell you he stopped his car in front of mine and he got out with an iron bar!" Now this guy is the husband of a childhood girlfriend of Kiko?s. All that was water under the bridge of course, but this guy has an idea that his wife is still in love with Kiko and therefore revenge must be had. Kiko shrugs his shoulders, "I don?t understand, what is his problem?"

So Kiko jumps in his car and finds a path out of the roadblock and this man throws the bar, jumping into his car to make chase. Kiko?s freaking out and as they are driving the tight streets of Tossa, he relises that he needs official help. He dials the Police on his cellphone: "I have a man chasing me who wants to fight, I am coming your way right now!" And incredibly, the assailant chases Kiko right into the arms of the police, who restrain him. An official police report is filed (the assailant?s name is Se?r Bizzaro, perfect, eh?) and this document is handed about the bar to the amazement of the bartender and others. We talk about self defense and I argue for simple awareness and not to start martial arts training, or carry a knife or anything like that. "Kiko, the hazardous times are between 4pm and 10pm when this guy is getting drunk. Just keep your eyes open and know what?s happening all around you." I tell hime the four rules of fencing: "Distance, distance, distance, distance." As we depart for the next bar, I stop at our house and fetch the pepper spray that we have for just this kind of occassion. A perfect gift. Kiko smiles incredulously, "I cannot believe what is happening in my life now!"

The next bar is a place in which Kiko?s wife works. She?s from Castille, Spain and was trained in wine, hospitality arts or something like that. She corrects my Spanish and I enjoy the pride she takes in her language. I notice that the other Catalans, who normally make a distinction of Catalan language and culture ("Dennis, Catalonia is the Switzerland of Spain."), do nothing to throw a wet blanket on her pride. Tolerance is beautiful.

The bar is empty and the door is half closed, early. It seems the rains have dropped the patron level in the town. I meet the owner of the bar and Kike (a nickname for Rico), a couple not yet married. Kike has just rented a place near ours and Kiko has some fun with him, "Kike, I can?t believe you live in a Cinderella House!" Evidently Kiko, who is builder in the town, doesn?t like the aesthetics of the remodel of Kike?s house, a rennovation that ignores the rustic roots and drowns that beauty with too many "pretty" finishes. Everyone is having a good time, muy amable.

By this time, we were in yet another bar that was just around the corner. I was surprised by how nice the interior was, I had underestimated it from outward appearances. For a reference for my friends in Los Angeles: Chinatown has two bars that are worth going to: Hop Louie and the Mountain. I was beginning to realise that this little town of Tossa had many, many Hop Louies and Mountains in it. I begin to ask just how many, but my new friends don?t know how to answer. Beers are flowing, as the guys bellied up to the bar send over a couple of rounds to say hello.

Kike begins to tell me about Issac Asimov and his "Foundation" series. I remember reading this when I was a kid. "Tranto is like the EU." Tranto (sp?) is like the Federation of Gene Roddenberry?s (sp?again) Star Trek. I guess Tranto has some advesary and Kike spices up the conversation by suggesting that America is that advesary for the EU. I responded with "we?re all in this together" and "we?re all family, America is the child of Europe" thing. And after some discussion of the special Greek and Roman roots of Europe, and how America shares those roots, we relax under the banners of fraternity. By this time their English is gone and my Spanish is tolerated and more beers came our way.

As we exit the bar, I figure this is the signal end of the night. Two thirty am. Kiko and I say goodbye to the other two and we walk back into the direction of the house where Kiko parked his car. Kiko says: "Dennis, do you want to stop at a disco near your place?" Now, I never found the discos attractive here in Spain. I mean, my late teens and early twenties was forged in the disco era of the late seventies, and I thought had my fill of the pulsing lights- dance floor spin that record Mr. DJ shake your groove thang- thing. So with reluctance we push past the doors of the Tahiti Club.

At first, it looked like a mild version of what I feared. But then I began to notice a slew of details: The music was live. And the patrons, who were mainly all on thier feet and mostly dancing (feet kicking and hands writhing, Flameco-like to my eyes), were mouthing their lips, they knew the music. All guitars, the singers were Catalan, indeed the whole bar was filled with locals. Then act followed act and the music was awesome, one after the other five or six in all. Kiko tells me: "Dennis, this place is dangerous in the summer.. if you enter alone, you will not leave alone." Note to self: don?t go here alone, Dennis.

And Kiko notices that there is a celebrity in the midst: Betts. He yells out: "Betts!, Betts!" He screws up his courage and approaches her, telling her she has to meet his Californian friend. I tell her she must be the Madonna of Catalonia, not knowing if this referent is appropriate, taking the risk anyway. She shrugs and takes the compliment. I realised that the social boundaries are so different here in this part of Spain.

I get home at five am, motor reflexes destroyed. And the whole of the next day was spent in bed, wondering why people mess with thier equilibrium like that. But this time, we have our DVD?s, fresh out of the eleven boxes, perfect to nurse an ebbing hangover with. I eat soup and piddle in the studio as I wonder how to get the ball rolling again with the paintings.

Posted by Dennis at May 9, 2004 7:26 AM

1 Comment

sounds like a good time hollywood.
watch your back! you don't want to get caught in the crossfire.

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