Time goes by, and I keep myself busy, but I am doing, apparently, nothing.
"Nothing" means working out our taxes, whilst waiting for all the right forms to arrive from America. It´s editing a UK Confraternity Guide to the Camino Portuguese, and chatting encouragingly at a US Marine who wants to write his memoirs. And a lonely Scotsman who is pondering his cradle Catholicism. And a guitar-maker who thinks America is doomed. I plant peas. All these things are important, but I am not paid for any of them, so in the great Capitalist mindset, they are Nothing. Worthless. A waste.
Lots of pondering going on out there. Maybe it´s a symptom of Spring, or maybe it´s all the Lenten reflection. I am doing some of that, too. Having given up all beverages but water, my thoughts turn often to the substances I use to prop up my ever-waning consciousness. We drink lots of wine here, probably too much. And coffee.
It´s the coffee I long for. The Spanish do wonderful things with coffee. I cannot really believe it could be bad for me. I know the moment I am finished with this fast I will brew myself up a big fat cuppa Joe and knock it right back!
Alcohol is another thing. Booze is an everyday event in these parts, where the bar is also the community center. Sit down at a café at lunchtime and the bottle of local red is plonked down with the glasses -- if you want water you have to ask. Stop in after the Saturday veg market downtown to chat with a neighbor, and a beer will appear next to your hand. Finish your dinner, and the bill will arrive with a "chupito" of liquor in a cute little glass. (Spanish men of a certain age are known to order a chupito with their morning coffee. It´s called "cafe con apellido;" "coffee with a surname.") Order a bag of seeds and some potting soil and some weedkiller and the farmer´s co-op guy throws in a bottle of aguardiente for free.
When I think back over my adult life, I conclude that I have drunk to excess. I´ve only half-enjoyed some good things because I was too bleary or beery to really take part. This is not good. And so, I suppose, this Lenten sacrifice is healthy, if I do indeed proceed to behave with moderation in the future.
Interesting how I only miss drinking when someone else is doing it. I do not think about wine or beer or other drinks until the scent comes to me... Paddy had a gin and tonic the other day at the Bar Deportivo, and wow did it smell wonderful! I picked up a glass of vino tinto this afternoon and took a sip, a reflexive action. It was thick and strong and delicious.
I put it right back down, though.
When I am not mortifying the flesh, I am plotting fun for the future. I found a $466 roundtrip airfare that will bring my Mom to visit me in May. In the middle of next week I will take the train to Leon, and start walking north along the Camino Salvador -- a medieval path through the mountains to Oviedo. It should take four or five days, and it should be plenty tough! I love to do a camino in springtime, before the big waves of pilgrims start washing up.
I´ve gotta get into some kind of shape, though. In the morning we´ll strap up Paddy´s ankle and take the dogs for a big long walk. And then we´ll start Spring Cleaning this place. It´s in a shocking state, what with dogs and cat and dust and soot everywhere, and laundry strung from the rafters, and pots of dirt on every surface.
A shambles. Chaos. Shabby and cluttered as anything worthwhile probably is. Time to get Mortified.