Tuesday, February 28, 2006

On the motorway between Lugo and La Coruña yesterday, a queue of 30 cars decided to wait behind a long articulated truck rather than risk trying to pass it. This was because the driver was 10 times over the alcohol limit and weaving across both lanes. Some of the motorists called the police so I can’t help wondering whether they were later prosecuted for use of their mobile phones. I imagine not.

I mentioned the other day the accusation of ‘liar’ is hurled about like confetti in Spain, even in parliament. But this seems positively polite compared with the following description of the opposition party from the Secretary of the party in power – ‘Disloyal, despicable, cowardly, immoral, deceitful and cynical.’ Apparently he doesn’t think very much of them opposing the government’s policy towards ETA terrorists.

And talking of insults, I arrived at another of my contentious theories today, viz. that, in a society in which so much stress is laid on having fun, one of the worst things you can call anyone is ‘killjoy’. The basis of my theory is that the Spanish are so tolerant of people around them generating levels of noise and cigarette smoke that would be considered utterly unacceptable elsewhere. Incidentally, the Spanish for killjoy [aguafiestas] is nicely composed of the words for water and partying. So, someone who rains on somebody else’s parade, I guess.

The Minister of Defence has said it would be a very good thing if half the generals in the armed forces and the national police were women. And I don’t think he was talking about just the Catering Corp. Sometimes one gets the impression Spain is trying a little too hard to shake of its macho reputation. But I don’t suppose the women object.

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