Living in Spain, I now understand what the experience must have been like for my opponent. How can one person possibly block so much of the path? Little old women with shopping bags and men with canes somehow manage to take up an entire sidewalk. Because this is Spain, they walk at approximately the pace of a tortoise, and if I try to pass them on either side, they magically swerve (or stumble) that way just before I get there. If I try to squeeze through the microscopic space they leave between themselves and the street, I instantly feel like a jerk pushing someone's grandma aside.
|This sidewalk gets very crowded very easily|
Spaniards seem to have very little concern for anyone else on the street and don't even think about when what they do might inconvenience others. Obviously this is a generalization and there are polite people and situations in which most people are more considerate, but in my experience they just don't give a damn.
But don't be mistaken; walking everywhere is still one of my favorite parts of living here. I absolutely do not miss driving, sitting in Southern California traffic, filling the gas tank, getting oil changes, or anything of the sort. I have never ascribed to American car culture, never felt any particular bond with a car, didn't name mine or personalize it with bumper stickers, and wasn't even really sad upon finding out that my brother had totaled my former car (Car ruined, brother fine).
Walking to work has other benefits. How else would I get to hear those two really cute guitarists on Calle Nueva? Where would I get my free newspaper each morning? Where would I get my occasional boost in self esteem that comes when someone stops me to ask for directions, and not only do I know how to get there, but can explain how to do so in Spanish? When else would I get to (try to) make friends with the local stray cats?
|People force these into my hands everyday as if to say "Here! Keep up with what's going on in the world AND practice reading Spanish." It's a win-win|
|Another intriguing sight of my daily commute|