This blue marble

– and yet it spins

Beach day and time-traveling in Spanish

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Flysch-4Today was a beach day. I also got sufficiently much sand in my notebook. I found myself needing a new pen and finally located a stationery shop 10 minutes before siesta closure. I then proceeded to spend five of those trying to explain to the shop clerk what a rollerball pen was. “No es una pluma, y no es un stylo o biro. Es un otro lápiz. Más fácil para escribir…” I finally dug out my current pen from my backpack and showed it to her. “Ah!” her face lit up. She did have a Stabilo Worker, although what “rollerball” is in Spanish I still do not know. I missed my heavy, clunky Faber-Castell but as it is too showy outside of the office world I left it at home.

I briefly encountered my landlady again today. “Muy mal!” she scolded me and my housemate, Swiss Patrice, as she walked into the kitchen. “You do not learn Spanish if you speak English” she added, and bullied us into another early-morning brain-numbing conversation in Spanish.

Today’s class was all about the imperfect past tense. “If the time is not completed, you should use this tense” explained our teacher. For example, today is not yet over and neither is this week. Makes sense. But it turns out that for Spaniards, “a while ago” or “five minutes ago” is also not a finalized time or activity. “Pues sí, está finito, de verdád?” I tried to argue. “No, pero it is still part of today, and today is not finito…”

The Spaniards seem to consider time within a day a dimension accessible for back-and-forth time travel.

(San Sebastián, Spain; August 2019)

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