Wednesday, January 28, 2009

You couldn’t make it up . . . Recycling might be adding to global warming. Of course, this expert could be wrong. Some of them are.

On the subject of the recession-drive flouting of EU rules by desperate national governments, a British columnist writes today:- “Many in Brussels understand that Sarkozy or Berlusconi can hardly be stopped from helping Fiat, Renault or Airbus. Voters may believe these very large employers are hardly less deserving than banks. Besides, this is a global economy. Europe says it must respond if America is bailing out its car companies in and distorting competition. But there are undeniable abuses. It is incredible to stretch the argument, as Sarkozy has done, to subsidising newspapers.” Maybe so but I doubt it’s the last incredible thing we’ll see in the next 12 to 24 months. And the outcome is anyone’s guess. Meanwhile, as the columnist adds, “It’s very hard to see when the authority of Brussels will be restored.” Not that it ever seems to have had very much here in Spain.

Rather more locally, you’ll all be wanting to know what happened down at the Caixa Galicia film showing last night . . . Well, it took place in a room separated from the lobby-cum-bar by thick curtains - the function of which is to block off both the noise from the bar and the distraction of a large TV screen on the wall in the lobby. The first Spanish element of the evening was a young woman on the door [i. e. curtains] handing out tickets for a free event. When I asked her why, she replied ‘For accounting purposes.” The second Spanish element was that, with fifteen minutes to go, there were 5 of us occupying the 100 or so seats. The third was that another 15 arrived in the last 5 minutes. The fourth was that a further 17 arrived in the 20 minutes after the film had started, each of them parting the curtains and most of them leaving them open. The fifth was that the woman on the door/curtains made no attempt to either stop or give tickets to the latecomers, making a mockery of both her function and her response to my question. She was also pretty relaxed about closing the curtains and removing from our peripheral view the flickering TV in the lobby. The sixth was two of the latecomers having their compulsory loud chat with their friend in the seat behind us before they got down to watching the film. The seventh was the woman who came in 15 minutes late and left 45 seconds later, leaving the curtains apart both times. And the eighth was the chap who got up and left after 25 minutes. So, all in all, an almost surrealistic demonstration of Spanish norms. Which may leave you wondering whether we’re so desperate for culture here that we’re prepared to endure countless irritations. To which, of course, the answer is Yes. Or maybe we’re just easily annoyed.

I wonder how many years it takes to get fully accustomed to Spanish individualismo. About which I read yesterday that the writer Ortega y Gasset was writing and complaining more than a hundred years ago. Though probably more philosophically than I do.

And, of course, it’s possible such things don’t happen in more sophisticated places like Madrid and Barcelona. Or Vigo, even. Though Pontevedra certainly considers itself to be pretty sophisticated, I gauge. But everything’s relative, as I’ve told my daughters a hundred times or more.

Which reminds me – The UK Daily Telegraph has farmed out its sub-editing challenge to a ‘cost-effective’ service down in Australia. Whose employees don’t seem to know that the word ‘superceding’ doesn’t exist. And who can’t afford a spell-check program. They must be cheap.

Finally, some readers might like to know that Ryan last night decorated a wall and a door of my porch with one of his sweet-smelling farts. He will be sleeping outside from now on and I assure you it will be no use dog-lovers – or even Ryan-lovers – writing in to seek indulgence on my part. Enough is enough.

PS. I’ve just seen a reference in the Daily Telegraph to “the Spainish police”. These Aussies should get off their island more.

2 comments:

Midnight Golfer said...

I saw something that was very interesting about recycling (at least the way most US municipalities do it) a while back on TV.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1444391672891013193&hl

Xoán-Wahn said...

Oh don't tell me that! I'm only just beginning to figure out what goes in which bin! Though it may just be because America has ruined me when it comes to recycling.

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