She says I always get there early,
In my rush to get through the gate,
But, as no one can produce a timetable,
Perhaps it’s she who always comes late.
Archive for July, 2007
She says I always get there early,
Every year five degrees lower,
Soon all old one-eye will see,
Is straight down to the floor.
It’s that nightmare time again, the three month cycle when Andy bluntly points out that my hair’s getting to the point where I’m starting to look like Quentin Crisp and a visit to the hairdressers is on the cards. I hate going to the hairdressers. For me it’s part of a trio which includes Doctors and Dentists as places to avoid if at all possible. Unfortunately, the Quentin Crisp thing is a deal breaker. I’m not sure why hairdressers are on the list, possibly because when I was a kid my mum, unhappy with a particularly shoddy short back and sides, kept sending me back to the local hairdresser until she was satisfied with the result. All this meant was that the novice who’d been let loose on my bonce, just kept chopping off more and more hair until I was left with a skinhead; a sure sign in those days in the West of Scotland that someone had ‘nits’. This obviously left me with deep emotional scars.
What nobody really prepares you for when you move to another country is that it’s the little transactions, the ones that in your home country you do without even thinking about, that can be unexpectedly taxing. But learning another language isn’t just about conjugating your verbs, it’s about learning a new vocabulary for every single little area of your life.
When we moved to Tenerife, this just sent the stress levels for visiting the hairdresser through the roof. Despite having spent a year trying to learn the lingo before moving, we were utterly unprepared and often mixed words up. A visit to the hairdresser was an embarrassing disaster waiting to happen. On my first visit I was nearly thrown out before I began for asking for the hair on my backside instead of the back of my head to be cut. Then, deciding to take what I thought would be the safest approach, I asked the hairdresser to cut my hair like his. In my anxiety however, I mixed up ‘pelo’ with ‘perro’ and inadvertently asked him to give me the same style as worn by his dog. I suppose he must have done a good job as a Golden Labrador tried to mount me as I left the shop. God, I hate going to the hairdresser.
“The spiders are stealing my hair,” he moaned,
He moaned, “The spiders are stealing my hair.”
She patted his hand and kissed his pale cheek.
“Why do you say the spiders are stealing your hair?”
He patted his bonce, which in truth was quite bare,
Then pointed to a dark spot right under the chair,
“Cos, once it was here and now it is there.”
The spiders chuckled.
I tried to remind myself I was in a country with a decidedly casual approach to obeying rules, which was a much healthier philosophy than my British conditioning which dictates that even the most inconsequential rule should be strictly adhered to.
The sheer nerve of the woman. If this had been in the UK, security guards would have been setting off alarms and reaching for their angina pills by now, but there she was, bold as brass, in Puerto de la Cruz’ halls of power, the town hall, right outside the mayoress’ office and not only did she have a dog in tow, it wasn’t even on a leash.
The woman stuck her head through door after door, obviously looking for somebody in particular, with the dog mimicking her every move. I waited for the shouts of indignation, secretly gleeful at the thought of her being ejected from the building for her crime, but none came. Maybe it was because the dog was a Chihuahua and was passing below everyone’s radar. The woman was eventually pointed to the door she wanted and duly disappeared inside. The dog, however, in typical dog-like fashion was distracted at this exact point by something and nothing, and didn’t spot this. Chihuahuas never seem very confident creatures to me and this one obviously had abandonment issues; it went into panic mode. It skittered around the building (that’s what Chihuahuas do they don’t run, or prance, they skitter), running through every door that the woman had stuck her head through previously, until finally at one it was met with an “AYE” and the sound of a chair being pushed back. The dog ran out of the room, followed by a young bloke.
That’s it now, I thought, it’s one thing a dog being in the town hall with its owner, but on its own must be a complete no-no, now the dog’s for the offski. But the young man did something that completely floored me. Instead of turfing the dog out of the building, he pointed down the corridor and unbelievably gave it directions.
“She’s not here; she’s in the room at the end of the hall,” he said to the dog.
Of course, he had to repeat the directions a couple of times before the dog got the picture and toddled away to be reunited with its owner.
It’s little incidents like these which are part of the joy of living here. Viva la diferencia!