Zodi’s Blog

Retarded Spanish Traditions

Yesterday morning I learned (the hard way) of yet another quaint and charming tradition ingenious to only Cadiar, Spain; It seems that on June 30th every teenage boy that has feelings for a girl ranging anywhere from ‘puppy love’ to “oh holy mother of God, I’ve knocked you up,” goes out and gets the object of his love flowers. By get, I actually mean steal. It seems they wonder about in voice breaking, ball hair growing packs in search of full flower pots. See, for this tradition flowers just aren’t enough, it takes earthenware to show her that you care.

Since almost nobody uses the ground floor of their home (this area is used exclusively for Shakira record collections and/or wine making cellars) all of the flower pots are up on the second or third story. I should have really wondered what was up when I saw all the boys wondering around with what looked like improvised pole vaulting sticks. I just assumed that pole vaulting was the next Spanish fad behind mullets and disco in the under ‘blue pant’ crowd.

It turns out that the kids use the pole to push the flower pot out of its holder, then drop the pole, and hopefully, catch the flowers-con-pot. These little bastards are phenoms at the first step, but apparently couldn’t catch an STD in Thailand. When I walked to town the next morning I witnessed flower genocide. It was like walking through a minefield of exploded pottery.  Just as Hallmark created Valentine’s Day, I’m convinced that the Pottery barn created this fiasco of a fiesta.

prewar balcony

A prewar balcony



Whatever bounty the boys are able to bring in is then brought to the girl’s home and left on her front stoop. If this is some ancient ritual to signify the age of puberty, IE; if there are flowers on the stoop, then……..ah never mind, I don’t even want to go there. This tradition does have a dark side though, if everybody finds a particular girl ugly, or for whatever other reason nobody likes her, then they leave huge fig trees on her stoop. And you thought not getting asked to the prom was bad; imagine waking up to find a couple hundred pounds of dead vegetation in your entryway. That shit would turn a bitch all “Carrie” on your ass real quick like.     

 My wife was really upset to find two of her pots and flowers gone entirely and one broken by the fumbling hands of the errant youth. I think she was much more upset because she had nurtured them for over three weeks with out the mass plant suicide she has become so accustomed to. Even in Florida which is God’s greenhouse, she managed to murder every photosynthesizing organism that she touched. She is well known as the Grim Reaper of greenery. I guess that in reality the curse has held too; if she hadn’t bought them, they would still be alive today.

Unlike us though, all of the old ladies in the village knew about the ‘show your love that you’re retarded’ event. Some just bring their plants in for the night. Others prefer to physically defend their tulips and their turf, in a war of attrition. They make it into a battle of the begonia, pitting the old and deranged against the young and the horny.

They stay awake all night armed with buckets of water, whistles and a broomstick. If they get the chance they dump the water on the boys while frantically, and uselessly blowing the whistle. But they are old and slow, so usually within a few jukes and jives the bucket defense is exhausted, marking the beginning of broomstick vs. pole combat. I guess the boys usually end up winning but still drop most of the loot. Leaving the old ladies mad, the boys still horny, and the pottery barn with rising stock.  

Since nobody bothered to tell me, I lost this battle, but if we’re still in this town next year, they have no idea what they’re in for when they fuck with my ficus.                              

 “I’ll be your huckleberry!” –Doc Holliday



July 2, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , ,


  1. What a bizarre country. Although flowers–stolen or not–were more than I ever bothered to get a girl at that age.

    Comment by Shawn | July 2, 2009 | Reply

    • Shawn-You may have not gotten them flowers but you did tons of nice stuff. Helped out with reference letters and job interview skills, and I’m sure you bought one of them a slurpee!

      Comment by Scott Oglesby | July 3, 2009 | Reply

  2. When I was young, I never got my girlfriends flowers. I got them drunk.

    Oh, I was a charmer all right.

    This flower felony deal does prove that there is no reason or logic to romance. Ah, romance, it is a capital affair.

    Comment by alantru | July 2, 2009 | Reply

    • Alantru- To be honest, I have to admit that I did pick a neighbors’ rose or two before getting them drunk. That one-two punch that says “please have sex with me!!???”
      I think there is reason and logic to romance, at least at that age. The reason is, “If I act all sweet and nice will you please give it up??” and the logic is, “Surely if I risk jail time/buy her this/give her that/take her there-surely then, she’ll have sex with me!” Then when we get older it’s a purely logical, “If I do this, she’ll be cool for a while.” But maybe I’m cynical.

      Comment by Scott Oglesby | July 3, 2009 | Reply

    • I swear I dated Alan when I was young. Oh wait… I think EVERY boy does that. Okay, I was drunk a lot when I was young…

      Comment by Claire Collins | July 8, 2009 | Reply

      • Yea, weren’t we all; my entire adolescence was a blackout.
        That would have been awesome if you’d dated Alan and subsequently reproduced. Your kids would be the best thriller/romance/office politics/humor/ writers ever! Ohh, it still isn’t to late!!

        Comment by Scott Oglesby | July 8, 2009 | Reply

      • OH yes it is. It is wayyyy too late. The whole married thing would get in the way. Besides, I already have 4 kids. When I figured out what cause it, I fixed that right away.

        Comment by Claire Collins | July 8, 2009 | Reply

  3. This doesn’t have anything to do with the ‘War of the Roses’ does it? I am going to co-op the fig tree thing though…I like it.

    Comment by fundamentaljelly | July 2, 2009 | Reply

    • -Damn, nice thinking! If I would have thought of that movie, that’s what I would have called this post. I read a post that turned into a meme a while back about the word retarded, now it has taken over my mind, it has retarded my vocabulary.
      You can run with the fig tree idea. You have to admire this expression of the lost art of subtlety. It just quietly, gently whispers, “I’m just not that into you, sorry. You’re a beautiful girl and sure to have plenty of suitors, but alas, my heart belongs to another.”

      Comment by Scott Oglesby | July 3, 2009 | Reply

    • I’m keeping an eye out for wayward fig trees on my porch. And I was probably foolish enough as a young girl that I would have found stolen flowers romantic. Much like in “True Romance,” the movie wherein that Arquette girl thinks Christian Slater romantic for shooting her pimp, or whatever he was. Boy I love that movie. I’ll have to watch it again. So much violence in one place.

      Comment by barelyknittogether | July 6, 2009 | Reply

      • One of the greatest movies of all time!! Nice call!! She said, “Oh my god, that’s so fucking romantic!” You have great taste!

        Comment by Scott Oglesby | July 6, 2009 | Reply

  4. I’ve always wondered what the Spanish did for love… I always assumed it had something to do with bull urine.

    Comment by Ramblin' Rooster | July 3, 2009 | Reply

  5. The Spanish do plenty more for love!
    -Spanish fly
    -Spanish guitar
    -Spanish inquisition
    -Spanish omelet
    -Spanish rice
    And that was just off the top of my head! Imagine what else they must do!!
    The bull urine thing is what’s called ‘an unmentionable’ to outsiders!

    Comment by Scott Oglesby | July 3, 2009 | Reply

  6. Oh I could have much fun with this little tradition. I would guard my flowers with all my might, and I’d have alot of evil shit in my arsenal. Trust it!

    Those little fuckers would ordering from flowers.com after I was done with them.

    Comment by candice | July 3, 2009 | Reply

    • I don’t doubt you Candice, not at all. Maybe next year (if we’re still here) I’ll buy you a ticket over here. We can start a flower pot defending Blackwater. A hibiscus Halliburton. We’ll make so much money we’ll be rolling in white leather goods, and churros.

      Comment by Scott Oglesby | July 4, 2009 | Reply

  7. There in lies the problem… I have always been the outsider.

    Comment by Ramblin' Rooster | July 4, 2009 | Reply

    • Don’t worry Rooster, I’m outsider here too. Wait, did you mean…. an Outsider, like from the movie? Is that why you guard your real identity? Let’s see you’re not Cruise- you’re not crazy enough. You’re not Lowe or Estevez; they’re making bad porn in Mexico. You’re not C. Thomas Howell-you’re not enough of a douchbag. You’re not Swayze- poor guy is preparing for the role of Ghost II- “This time you don’t have to act.” Oh my God, are you Ralph Macchio?? Dude if it’s you, you gotta come back to acting! They’ll find you something. I won’t make any bad ‘Karate Kid’ jokes, just please, come back man!!

      Comment by Scott Oglesby | July 4, 2009 | Reply

      • I think I had posters of every one of those guys on my wall as a pre-teen. Except Swayze. Never did like him. But you didn’t even mention the hottest one of all, Matt Dillon, Drugstore Cowboy extraordinaire. There was something appealing about his not-really-good-looking-ness.


        Gotta love a bad boy.

        Comment by barelyknittogether | July 6, 2009 | Reply

      • It is I the Macchio! No more secrets! I’m hurt that you didn’t see ‘Beer League’, (and you call yourself a fan).

        Comment by Ramblin' Rooster | July 7, 2009 | Reply

  8. He’s a great actor! Drugstore cowboy was the shit! His best line ever was in Something about Mary, “Yea, I work with retards, those goofy bastards are just about the best thing I got going in this crazy world.” Sorry, I’m a movie fanatic, I guess you can tell.

    Comment by Scott Oglesby | July 6, 2009 | Reply

  9. Why am I laughing at this? Being an ex-pat and learning the local traditions is the best part, isn’t it? Or is it the heartburn that’s the best part?

    Comment by Pammy | July 7, 2009 | Reply

    • Pammy- I take omaprazole for the heartburn. If I didn’t need it before moving here I sure do now! The best was getting used to nothing, I mean nothing being open during Sundays/holiday/fiestas. When we moved here we arrived in Madrid on a Thursday that was the beginning of a 4 day fiesta. If it were not for the kindness of strangers I don’t think I’d even be alive right now!
      At least you were in London, right??

      Comment by Scott Oglesby | July 7, 2009 | Reply

  10. Yup, I was in London… not so third world unless someone with a Cockney accent tried to talk with you. Is that even English? British food (no insult to your wife) isn’t really heartburn-inducing as much as it reminds me of, well, nothing. Pretty bland stuff. But the blood sausage is enough to bring on the gag reflex.

    Someday I’ll make it to Spain. Someday. Right now I’m just shooting for another 3-day weekend. sigh

    Comment by Pammy | July 8, 2009 | Reply

    • I’m posting a blog all about the local butcher on Friday. They have the blood pudding here too; one day I thought I was ordering sausages, never again. Make sure you take 2 minutes off of work and tune in.

      The secret I use to survive my visits to London is to simply alternate between fish and chips, curry, and roasts. Repeat. Actually though, I still get heartburn despite the omaprazole while in London.

      Comment by Scott Oglesby | July 8, 2009 | Reply

  11. I’d be thwacking kids with my own stick. I guess this is similar to pumpkin smashing on halloween? Kind of a halloween valentine’s day mix?

    Comment by Claire Collins | July 8, 2009 | Reply

    • That’s what the old ladies try to do, but it’s really more of a swordfight. A swordfight between a 14 to 20 year old kids and 70 to 99 year old ladies. Not fair. The ladies should at least get a proper lance or a 4 pronged miracle weeder, or anything else that Billy Mays used to sell.

      If I’m still here next year, I’m taking pics and video, I’ll make a documentary or better yet a reality show!!

      Comment by Scott Oglesby | July 8, 2009 | Reply

  12. Claire- Don’t let marriage get in the way of a profound improvement of the writer gene pool! I say that if you did something to yourself, you undo it. Do it for your country! My God woman, do it for humanity!!

    Comment by Scott Oglesby | July 8, 2009 | Reply

    • Sure thing Scott, let me just go out and breed a bunch of smart ass little bloggers!

      Comment by Claire Collins | July 8, 2009 | Reply

      • Way to go Claire!! Just think of riveter Rosie!! We’ll no, I think of her sometimes when I’m trying to um …sacrifice!!

        Comment by Scott Oglesby | July 8, 2009 | Reply

  13. Great story!

    You should make a greeting card that says “That’s what happens when you fuck with my ficus”.

    Or even better, “Sorry to hear you couldn’t catch an STD in Thailand”

    Come to think of it, this whole post is a greeting card mecca!


    Comment by bschooled | July 30, 2009 | Reply

    • Bschooled- that would make one hell of a sympathy card! I’ve been wanting to do a greeting card post, and you’ve given me the motivation I needed. Thanks!! I’ve been wanting to do one since Rat was doing them on Pearls Before Swine. Funny stuff! Thanks for stopping in! I’ve seen you around our mutual friends sites and been waiting for you to make the first move since I’m so bashful! I hope you are a regular customer here! I’ll be by your place tomorrow!

      Comment by Scott Oglesby | July 30, 2009 | Reply

      • Rat did them on Pearls Before Swine? God, I need to get out more…

        Ha! You’d have no reason to be bashful..in fact, that’s why I stopped in. I kept noticing your funny comments and I thought to myself “He’s funny, and I’m self-diagnosed with mild ADD, so I see no reason why we shouldn’t be funny/self-diagnosed with mild ADD together…”

        At least I think that’s what I thought, unfortunately I have a bad memory.

        Comment by bschooled | July 31, 2009 | Reply

    • Bschooled- There is no reason in the world that we can’t be funny and ADD together! I don’t even know if it’s possible to be funny without mild ADD. Your mind would just go in a straight line, which is predictable. When we have the benefits of ADD we may start off with flowers and end up with rats with ADD. As a matter of fact you just gave me a new slogan in my “We don’t need no medication” fight against big pharmaceutical, “Whatever you say; say it better with ADD!”

      Comment by Scott Oglesby | July 31, 2009 | Reply

      • We don’t need no stinking attention! Or focus! Or oh look was that a bunny rabbit? What is that smell? Is something burning? Was I cooking something? What day is it? Oh look, it WAS a bunny rabbit…

        Comment by barelyknittogether | July 31, 2009 | Reply

  14. BKT, you wouldn’t happen to have the recipe for that handy, would you? I’m getting a little sick of hamburger helper…


    Comment by bschooled | July 31, 2009 | Reply

    • Bschooled- No more hamburger helper. Come see me for your recipe needs! Seriously I cook my little ass off. Really healthy, easy and quick. For once, I’m not kidding.

      Comment by Scott Oglesby | August 1, 2009 | Reply

  15. BKT- now we are getting somewhere! Where are we going? Are we there yet? But I gotta pee! Oh a shiny penny!!!

    Comment by Scott Oglesby | August 1, 2009 | Reply

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