July 30, 2008

El Rincon

Our neighborhood here in Tossa is especially sweet. It's a part of the town where cars cannot proceed deeper because the streets get too narrow, pedestrians only. Our house in on a corner(una rincon), and we are flanked by great neighbors young and old.

Immediately to our right is Carmen and to the left is Victoria. Both are in their eighties, Carmen is a descendant of an Indiano, a Catalan who went to the Americas (Cuba) and came back with some wealth. Her house is like a museum, filled with old church relics rescued during the Civil War when anti-clerical revolutionaries sacked the church and killed the priests.

Victoria was married to a builder and her tiny house of wood and stone reminds me of a small ship, a tugboat with a garden patio. She keeps her place ship shape, there is no detail left unattended to, every bit of wood is varnished and every spot of stucco painted. She sure is sweet when she shows her patio, a collection of 2 yellow canaries, a turtle, and an eden of plants. Every morning she scrubs the street, vigilant in her eternal war with the cars who illegally park in front, with the dogs who piss on the flower pots, and kids who piss into the shadows when the crowd at the corner disco "Sivas" gets large enough to form a line that's too long for the wait.

I tend to get up a bit late since my studio time reels out into the wee hours. Opening the strong new wood doors of our house in the morning has a ritual attraction, but I usually miss Victoria's morning routine of hose, scrub brush and buckets. By the time I get out front, she is off to the beach as most of the older people like to do here in the pueblo, they tend to take their dip into the sea at 9 or 10 and duck back into their houses before the sun cranks on the heat.

The other morning, I saw Victoria in her doorway. She gave me a sidelong look, I couldn't tell her mood. She asked how I was doing in the studio. My studio is the second floor of our house, and my windows are directly across from hers. I have no doubt that she is quite aware of my musical tastes.
As best as I can interpret, she asked: "How many paintings have you done by now, you must have many, many of them, no?" I still could tell her mood, she was either irritated by my late hours or it's simply that being 80-something is no bowl of cherries. "No, I have painted only one so far." She broke her sidelong pose and shot me a look: "My God, you are up at all hours!" with a look that might be disgust. I couldn't tell.

But then again just today, she just gave me a dish of white beans and a huge link of buttifara, a pork sausage typical to Catalunya. I'm sure that will hit the spot around three am.

My wee hours must not be all that bad for her.

Posted by Dennis at July 30, 2008 12:00 PM

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