Finding real people in Europe

May 5, 2008 at 10:29 am (Fróðleikr, Smáskitligr) (, , , , )

The French are perfect. They swan around in interesting yet subtle clothes, choosing each word as though they were selecting chocolates. The women are all perched on a line between gorgeous and plain, one you only find at fashion shows and in France; you can’t stop looking at them, if only to decide on which side they fall. They have brilliant white teeth and fluid voices. They are impervious to tobacco, which they all consume incessantly. The men manage to look brooding and intelligent even when there isn’t anything going on upstairs.

The English are addicted to drudgery. Of course they have to get away from it sometimes, and there are days when they long for sunshine and cheap goods, but take an Englishman away from his country permanently and he’ll begin to pine for something to be sarcastic about. A big mug of tea is just inappropriate when one always gets to work on time, there aren’t any forms to fill out, the birds are chirping merrily and one’s children come home from school tanned and well-nourished. Foreigners, to an Englishman, are always braggarts, allowed to appear self-serving and proud, allowed to have faults rather than gripe about imaginary ones to appear modest.

The only real people in Europe are Spaniards. They’ve all got problems, which are all out in the open, but it’s okay, because everyone has the exact same problems. The prices in Galicia are about right; they’re far too expensive for Galicians, but at least they’re reasonable for everyone else. There are still real cafeterias, run by real people, where the food is made for you when you order it, or at least every morning before opening time. You can expect Spaniards to be self-serving, and they’re usually honest about it, but even when they try to pretend that they’re not it’s painfully obvious. They’re unabashedly proud of themselves. Just because you have more money and a better education and are better looking than they are does not make you better, what, do you think you’re better than me? Huh? You think I’m not worth talking to? Huh? Say it to my face. Gilipollas.


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