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Monday, 4 February 2013


In Spain where you see political corruption, selfishness, all types of fraud plus scheming acts of palm greasing on a daily basis you get so unperturbed and conditioned that it often comes as a shock when you come up against someone here who decides he wants to be a jobsworth,  If you've lived here long enough you find yourself telling him 'come on chum, play the game, look at all the other people triple parked'. You feel there is something unsportsmanlike in his act of doing the right thing. It takes a while to get to this stage but get there in the end you will or you just do as my neighbour said and 'bugger off to Germany'. Sometimes these small displays of seriousness and professionalism present themselves in a minor way like the last person on the last bus who decides he or she needs to sit on the seat allocated to him or her and makes a very tired student get up and move or the bank clerk who decides he is going to do his job correctly unlike his flexible colleagues who have never minded telling you how much is in the phone bill account you have just put money into even though it is in your husband's name as they know you would do the same for them one day. Getting through the day often requires some sort of enchufe, blarney or back scratching and so it comes as quite a shock when someone decides they don't want to play ball and they want to do things correctly for a change. It's a similar sensation to crashing into what you thought was an open patio door. So I can't imagine what it is like for the ruling classes here now that they are hopefully going to be taken to task or perhaps shot by someone who wants to do the job properly, namely a pissed off public with nothing to lose. One thing is parking your car on the skew whiff in front of someone's garage when they want to leave, which usually gets solved by them either leaning on the horn for ten minutes or driving their car into yours as hard as they can to send it on its way, but all this is small scale mercenary behaviour compared to the politicians, judges, big shots and petty tyrants who've lorded it for too long.

Queue jumping is another bad habit I have mastered in my efforts to integrate and since the alternative is being reduced to jelly far better for my health in the long run. Parking on zebras, running people over on the zebras and blaming it on the sun or lambasting them for not wearing a crash helmet while crossing the road I have yet to succumb to, but you can just imagine them, the politicos that is, all scrambling around with the bureaucracy flying everywhere crying 'why did we even think of putting this on paper?', forgetting that is what keeps the country in employment and an obsession that dates back centuries. Well I guess they can all go and fuck themselves, the politicians that is. God knows what is going to happen, nobody seems to be able to say. Yesterday, over coffee at a neighbour's house I said that the corruption was nothing new here and reminded her of Jesus Gil y Gil and she astounded me when she said in so many words that 'yes, but he also helped people, he was bad in one way but he also did lots of good things so the people liked him'. You could say to me, 'but this person must be stupid' but she isn't, far from it, surreal maybe but not an idiot. Where does this leave those of us who took years to integrate and join in the law breaking albeit minor rather than face a lifetime of having nervous breakdowns losing it like Basil Fawlty every time you try to get something done in a normal fashion? I want to believe that the current recession is the necessary cattle prod for some collective soul searching on all levels, the catalyst to help wipe the slate clean but no one seems to know what the next step is and I worry the inevitable apathy will creep back in once things get a bit better. Meanwhile it seems to be choosing to sit back and watch the feathers fly or join in the insurrection.