FRIENDS — TO HAVE OR NOT TO HAVE
It’s Saturday morning, no school and time to reflect.
I’ll start with an odd one: friends.
There is something else I love about being in Marbella that, up until yesterday I couldn’t quite put a finger on — friends.
Now someone, back in Blighty, once accused me of being socially inept, which I considered to be a tad harsh.
‘But you never make an effort to make any friends, do you?’ they asked. Unable to see how it was possible to emerge from this debate without making myself look worse, I changed the subject.
But they had a point.
And now I know exactly why I have never made much of an effort.
Now please, dear reader, should you consider that you are a friend of mine, do not take this the wrong way.
But I could count the number of those I would consider close friends on the fingers of one hand. These are — with one exception — people I have known for a very long time, I very rarely see and even more rarely feel the need to correspond with. And they feel the same about me. Yet when we get together, there are no better times.
Outside this group, I have another set of friends with whom I enjoy watching rugby,
cricket, going for walks and drinking too much beer with. And again, we do not feel the need to be in each other’s pocket.
Beyond this I have acquaintances. They remain acquaintances for a reason — if they became friends, then they would become pests — they would require a level of commitment I’m not prepared to give, and think the worse of me when I didn’t give it.
I broke this rule once and it ended in disaster. I fell out with someone — it was mutual — an acquaintance who should have remained an acquaintance but somehow got pushed up into the friend subset. A practical chap, he was going to hang some mirrors for me. His parting words were: ‘… You’re not my f***ing friend any more, and you can stick your f***ing mirrors up your arse!’
And this is a good example as to why I really don’t want any more friends.
Now what the heck has this got to do with Spain, Marbella or my blog, Understanding Spain?
Well quite a lot, actually.
You see, I’m happy to make friends here, and already I have made quite a lot of friends, mainly through the language school.
But why, you may ask? On the other hand you may not give a toss.
Because a day from now… a week from now… a month from now, they will all be gone. We may keep in touch or we may not. And then I can make some more friends… and so on.
It’s a bit like the war.
You go into the officer’s mess for a beer to meet your best friend, Bertie, after a hard day bombing the crap out of Cologne, only to find that’s he’s bought it over the Channel. And so you raise a glass to Bertie’s memory and have a beer with his rookie replacement.
Yesterday in class Isobel leads a discussion on Spanish Fiestas, or public holidays. There are lots of them, and we are given a somewhat pointless exercise, the object of which is to match a date with a holiday, a bit like sticking the tail on the donkey.
Christmas is the only obvious one, Scottish Graeme protests, and sits back with his arms crossed to indicate that’s he’s not playing this game any more.
The conversation is, of course, supposed to be conducted in Spanish but it gets a bit heated, and when this happens — not an uncommon occurrence — in the interest of actually being understood, we resort to English.
Isobel asks us how many public holidays we have in our own countries. Scottish Graeme says that Scotland does not have public holidays. Now, if you’re reading this, Graeme, you may want to take a wee look at this: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/People/bank-holidays as it rather questions the validity of your claim.
German Johanna doesn’t really know, or appear to care, about German public holidays as she’s a student and therefore life itself is a holiday. But she says — rather randomly — that Germans certainly don’t celebrate anything to do with either World War. Graeme replies that we do in the UK, and it all gets a bit tasty, particularly when Dutch Rob points out that Germany has won pretty much everything else since 1945: World Cups, the economy and even Eurovision.
And so Isobel once again defuses a potential international conflict with an early break.
Hasta Manana, Chicos!