Over the past several months my wife and I have been agonizing over the decision of whether to stay in Spain or return to the states. It helps me sometimes to write things out, especially with a decision as tough as this one. I didn’t bother with the trivial minutia like employment, housing, family, or friends because a book once told me to ‘not sweat the small stuff.’ I’m concentrating on the deal makers and breakers only here.
Why to stay in Spain…
-Nobody bothers me here. If I don’t want to talk, then I can’t speak Spanish.
-Amsterdam, Paris, Greece, Rome, London, most of Europe is within a 2 hour plane ride. I can usually get a ticket for the tax only. 35E.
-Spanish fashion and the women who sport it.
-The crazy people here keep to themselves. They don’t appear on Fox and CNN. Nobody screams nonsense during rational discussions on important topics. Nobody tells anybody else they are going to burn in hell for being gay, or believing in the wrong God, or for disagreeing with them on health care. When the crazy people here get obnoxious or vocal, they get locked up. Except the gypsies, but they mostly keep to themselves anyway.
-Almost all the people that go to church here are actually nice.
-Within a 10 minute walk I can get to a place where I not only don’t see any people, I don’t even see evidence of the existence of people.
-Something I’d never experienced until now; clean mountain air.
-The rednecks here don’t have guns. Or country music. Or political aspirations.
-No strip malls. No Bed Bath and Beyond. No Linen’s N’ Things.
-If you get sick or hurt over here, you will be taken care of.
-They make people on welfare do jobs around town; painting, sweeping, etc.
-There is very little bigotry or racism, even against the damn Brits.
-Did I mention no Fox News?
-No handguns = very little crime or murder. You just gotta watch those damn gypsies.
-Free tapas with every drink.
-Po po ain’t all up in your grill.
-Drugs are practically legal here. I don’t do drugs, except the occasional valium, but I love that po po ain’t all up in your grill.
-When there is a debate, the public discourse while being high-pitched and excitable, is a lesson in civility. Rich, poor, right, left all speak to each other rationally and treat each other with respect and dignity. Other than the mayors during elections. Then it’s a no holds bared cage match in the 9th level of hell.
-Culture, architecture, beauty, charm.
-Spain has fundamentally changed me for the better. I’ve learned how to relax. I’ve finally learned patience. I never would have begun writing again if we hadn’t moved here. Before, I always thought I had to be doing something, anything. I’ve learned that I don’t need a bunch of stuff to be happy. I can sit somewhere and just Be now. I’ve stopped being such a mindless consumer. I’ve learned to eat really slowly and savor food and conversation; the art of the Spanish 3 hour dinner. I’ve learned that I can download and watch survivor on ‘The pirate Bay.’
In general I love the culture of Spain. The people are much more interested in just living. The rat race here is a slow, leisurely amble. They want to eat, drink, and spend time with their family and friends. They possess a genuine love and passion for life, an optimism that I haven’t seen much in America lately.
Why to go back…
-I miss America. I’m American, and it’s what I’m used to.
-Football, baseball, basketball, hockey, tennis, golf, and the UFC. Yes, I watch tennis and golf. I love sports.
-Being able to turn on a TV and flip through the channels without seeing a variety show featuring a fat, mustachioed, corny host, a cache of trashy women laughing hysterically at every awful joke, and the worst music I’ve ever heard. Although I may have to check with our resident expert Capitalistliontamer to verify that.
-God damn murderous, drug-addled, screaming, stealing, groin mauling, stabbing gypsies.
-Every time that you drive here you are risking your life. The roads are worse than the French Alps. There are sheer 1000ft drops with no guardrail. They don’t really give DUI’s and half the population starts off the morning with a couple drinks. Old mostly blind, drunken men have almost taken me out numerous times by cutting the shit out of corners. People die constantly by going over the cliffs.
-I’m sick of mullets, Shakira, Peugeots, scooters, and the smell of diesel.
-There is dog shit everywhere. Nobody gets their ‘pets’ fixed or lets them in the house. There are almost as many stray dogs and cats as people by now. I love animals so I started giving the ones right outside our house table scraps when I saw that they were starving to death. I now have to buy cat food (incredibly cheap, thank God) for about 15 stray cats.
-I’m sick of the ear piercing scream of agony when two ill-fitted dogs get surprised during sexy time, and end up stuck together in a biting, yelping, clawing tangle of sheer terror.
-The wonderful service, great food, and casual atmosphere that is the TGIF dining experience. Yea, I’ve brought that shtick back.
-If we moved back it would be to Florida, which is always warm. I’d never known how cold Spain got in the winter. While it gets hot in the day, it’s freezing at night. It snowed twice here last year. The thing is, nobody including us, has heat. All we have is a tiny Ben Franklin (they don’t call it that) style fireplace which barely heats the main room. Last winter I had to sleep in 4 layers with 3 thick blankets and a cat nestled on my head to come close to being comfortable. I have a whole new empathy for the homeless. As a matter of fact, I see why they all migrate to Florida. Well I guess the really cheap crack doesn’t hurt either.
-Bowling. Its little things like that that gets to you after a while. I think I’ve bowled maybe twice in the last ten years. But knowing that you can’t do something makes you want to do it.
-Target. There are no big stores here. Electronics and appliances are ridiculously expensive. A toaster is 30 Euros. A microwave is 100E and complete crap. I’ve never even seen the things I used back home to cook; a wok or crock pot. Almost nobody has a washer or dryer or dishwasher. It’s all done by hand, even in the winter.
-It’s impossible to get anything done here, business wise. After we had moved here and already paid, we had to wait 2 months for our internet and phone to be turned on. When the technician got here he sat outside on our front step for over an hour, smoking and talking on the phone. If you’re on the phone with a company and 2:00pm rolls around, you will be hung up on.
-The bureaucracy is maddening. You need the yellow form (which is in Malaga) to fill out the blue form (which is in Granada) so you can apply for the green form (which has to be mailed from Madrid) but only If you knew to go get the yellow form signed by the Magistrate in Adra. Or else you must start over at the beginning. And if you’re in line at 2:00pm, you’re screwed.
-I’m sick of this being our only grocery store within an hour drive. It’s the size of a 7/11 and not as well stocked. I understand that we are presently in a rural part of southern Spain but for fuck’s sake I thought they’d have better food. I eat chicken breast and vegetable pasta 6 days a week because that’s all I can eat that’s healthy. Everything is pork, fatty, greasy, salty, gristley (not a word) garbage. All the seafood in a restaurant comes deep fried with a face. I miss good restaurants, and selection at the store. There are no name brands of anything here. You begin to crave some odd stuff under these circumstances. I’d kill a man dead for a bowl of Life cereal, a jar of Jif peanut butter, or an Eggo. Some steak and lobster. Garlic butter shrimp. Ok, I have to stop before I stab a gypsy out of frustration.
In general I still love America. It is still undoubtedly the land of opportunity and the envy of most of the world. Life is a lot more stressful, but it’s a lot easier at the same time. You work a lot harder but there are more ways to enjoy yourself. I wish that we could just all learn to get along a little better, and chill out a little more. This is one of the toughest decisions that I’ve ever had to face. In the long run it may be up to the trivial minutia that I mentioned earlier to make up our minds. Well actually, there is no grass to cut here. Hmmmm.
This is part II of an interview between me and one of the nutty gypsy women living in my little village in Spain. If you have not read part I then you can do so here.
I met her in the local park once again since she isn’t allowed in any establishment in the region. After I proffered her ration of cigarettes and alcohol we got right back into it. As you know the Crazy Ass Gypsy Lady is referred to as GL.
GL- So where you been white boy, I ain’t seen you around much?
Me- I’ve been busy, I had um….pneumonia.
GL- Pneumonia? I don’t even know what the fuck that is. Wait, isn’t that what all the people on the magic pictures box and the magic singing box say when they were just all fucked up?
Me- What are you insinuating?
GL- Don’t try to trick me with your in-sinful word. Are you putting a curse on me white boy? Hey, are you sure you didn’t suffer from exhaustion?
Me- Back off bitch.
GL- I’ll bet it was the exhaustion; what, with all of your sitting in the sun, sitting at the magic typing box and siestas taking. Or no, I’ll bet it was really too many fiestas, wasn’t it?
Me- Look, I’ll tell you this only one time; don’t ever ask me about my business Kate.
GL- My names not Kate, its Crazy Ass Gypsy Lady. Jesus, lay off the fucking drugs white boy.
Me- Can you tell me about the life of a gypsy woman?
GL- The gypsy women’s life is all about blood. Where do you think the term gypsy rose stems from? Oooh, an unintended pun! Anyway, we have a very hard life. A baby girl is already sold into marriage by the time she is one year old. As long as the elders don’t deem her a ‘fugly.’
Me- Are you born in a hospital or at home?
GL- We may enjoy stabbing some relatives on occasion, but we’re not barbarians. Of course we’re born in a hospital; we have socialized medicine over here after all.
At this point we were interrupted by a crowd of fat white men who started chanting and screaming at us. One of them called her a secret Muslim and me the antichrist. Then they started screaming that nobody even speaks English here anymore and stormed off looking for a “Christian Church not a God-damned Catholic one.” It was pretty odd considering we’re in Spain. Anyway……
Me- Does this work kind of like a dowry or something?
GL- What the fuck is a dowry? No, mother fucker, she is sold for some brown for the girl’s family and maybe some chickens and shit. Then as soon as the girl oozes her first blood of the unclean she is to be married. But the marriage preparation is a real mother-fucker white boy. The night before the wedding, the groom’s family takes the girl to their home then lay her spread eagled on a table, then they jam a rose right into the girls wamy-jamy hole. They have a piece of cloth under her, and when it’s all over if the cloth has a blood stain its all good. They bring the cloth out for the families to pass around and celebrate over. Everybody holds the cloth over their cup and takes a drink of hooch through the hoochie stained cloth. And you thought those purity ball fathers were sick fuckers white boy. HUH!
Me- Oh my God. I feel sick. Talk about groin mauling.
GL- Yea, why do you think we stab each other, and try to run each other over with Peugeots and shit. Our hatred runs so deep we came up with curses. But that ain’t even the worst of it, not by a long shot. If the girl doesn’t bleed then her entire family is ostracized from the gypsy community. Wait, I don’t even know what ostracized means. The girls whole family is kicked the fuck out of the community in Adra. That’s what happened to us. That’s why we is stuck up here in the wilds.
Me- There is an entire gypsy community in Adra?
GL- Oh it’s glorious, all the booze, all the heroin, all the new people to stab and club. It’s bigger than the biggest housing project in the land of the MTV.
Me- You know MTV?
GL- Yea, and that mother fucking Kayne West is a lucky man he ain’t a gypsy. Wouldn’t last a day. Anyway, here we only got each other to stab. And it’s harder than a priapismed love stick to stay in the brown.
At this point another guy jumped up out of nowhere and shouted, “You Lie” so I cut the interview short. If you would like to hear more from the Crazy Ass Gypsy Lady, let me know and I’ll visit with her one more time. It’s up to you guys entirely.
I met her on a narrow winding street surrounded by tidy whitewashed homes, but there was nothing tidy, narrow, or white-washed about this woman.
I’ve done it! Through persistence, 8 cardboard boxes of wine, 1 pack of roll up cigarettes, 7 euros, and an old pair of boxer shorts I was finally able to begin to chronicle the Gypsy life. For the purposes of simplicity and duplicity I have translated this interview from its original format of her speaking broken English and me speaking broken Spanish to something resembling coherence. So now, in the proud tradition of Frost/Nixon, of Larry King/Tony Blair, of Howard Stern/Crackhead Bob; I give to you….. Oglesby/Crazy Ass Gypsy Lady…..
G.L.- Do you got a cigarette?
Me- Yea, I’ll buy you a pack of roll ups if you talk to me for a minute.
G.L.- I want to drink something too then. And not no goddamn water.
Me- Ok, I’ll buy you a box of wine.
At this point there was much celebrating in the form of hand kissing, dancing, and suggestive hip thrusts. After I bought her the wine I pulled out my camera to get her photo…
G.L.- Oooh, oooh, shiny thing, give me, give me??
Me- No, get off of me. Stand back there, I want to take your picture.
G.L.- Can I have a euro?
Me- Yes, now stand still and get your hands out of your pants.
After capturing her image on the ‘evil shiny soul catcher,’ we found a nice spot in the park for me to sit down and type, and for her to endlessly pace, smoke, drink, shoot-up some smack, smoke some crack, and scream insults at passing tourists. After I was able to calm her with another euro, we began again.
Me- Can you please state your name for the record
Me- Ok, I’ll just call you Crazy Ass Gypsy Lady, or G.L. for short. Ok?
G.L.- Buy me more wine?
Me- In a little while.
G.L.- You Goddamned mother fucker.… OK
Me- How old are you?
Me- What? You can’t be.
G.L.- Coke miles ain’t easy miles, white boy.
Me- I guess we’ll skip the personal information for now. Can you tell me anything interesting?
G.L.- I’m the hottest bitch on the block white boy, wanna fuck?……….. Hey, why are you throwing up and stabbing at your eyes and poking sticks into your ears? Are you ok? Do you need some brown?
Me- No, no (calming down) I’m fine, I just must have eaten something.
G.L.- Oh yea, that happens to me everyday. I thought I was funny.
Me- What can you tell me about Gypsies? Do you have any family legends or lore?
G.L- Well, one legend states that we were forever cursed because we made Christ’s crucifixion nails. But that’s a load of horseshit! The truth is that we stole one of the four nails that were used to crucify him.
Me- Wait are you saying that you are a 2000 year old vampire?
G.L.- What are you, fucked up? You’re in the wrong ‘Interview with a……..’ . Stay with me here white boy!
G.L.- That’s why Christ had both feet attached with one nail. The truth is we didn’t do it out of mercy; the nails were made out of olive wood, which were really handy for stabbing relatives back then. Anyway, because we spared Christ that one painful nail, God bestowed upon us the blessed ability to be the best thieves in the world.
Me- But you always get caught. Old, half blind, drunken shop owners have kicked you out of every store in Europe.
G.L- Fuck you white boy. Buy me some wine. Please?
Me- After one more tale.
G.L.- This wine is getting my womanly juices flowing!
Me- I’ll give you a euro if you just tell me why the Bulgarians have a country and a church and you don’t?
G.L.- Hell yea! At one time there was a country in which the Bulgarians and the Gypsies lived. The Bulgarians built a church and the gypsies built another one. The Bulgarians made their church out of gold. We made our church out of cheese. Time passed. The gypsies were wandering incessantly, and hunger gripped us. We did not have anything to eat…. so we began to eat the church. One Gypsy took a slice, and then another… We ended up without a church. For that reason we do not have church, because we ate it. The Bulgarians have one, but we don’t. We do not have a state either. We do not have anything.
Me- Ooh don’t forget your God bestowed talent for thievery.
G.L.- Fuck you.
Me.- No really, you guys are like Satan. The greatest trick you ever pulled was making the world think you didn’t steal.
G.L.- Fuck you, I’m getting mad.
Me- Cause nobody would ever think that a gypsy would steal anything. I’ll bet the shop owners ask you to lock up for them every night huh? Cause you guys are so trustworthy and all?
After she pulled out a knife I changed the subject back to the cheesy church.
Me- Wait, you made a church out of cheese?
G.L.- We’ve always been a bit eccentric. We like cheese, plus we like to horde shit. This was like stabbing two relatives with one knife. Smart huh?
Me- What kind of church was it? Romano Catholic? Christ of the Ubriaco? Saint Paulin? Protestant Pepper Jack? Anglican Acorn? I’ll bet the Marble marble Saints kept the Munster out! Jajajajaja. You guys should have made it out of Swiss; then it would have been really holy.
G.L.- You are seriously a fucking idiot. My IQ is like 48, I’m strung out on smack, I’m drunk; and I still know how lame you are. What’s next in your comedic repartee, knock knock jokes? Jackass.
Me- Uh, sorry. Do you want to finish this tomorrow?
G.L.- Yea, because you suck. Buy me some wine.
Everyone knows how much I love reality TV. As far as I’m concerned television writers are just not capable of emulating the kind of entertainment that our fellow man can produce. Literally speaking; you can not make this stuff up. The magic formula for the kind of show that I enjoy is to put the perfect amount of craziness in a pot, slowly turn up the heat, stir, and then just watch the hilarity ensue.
I’ve been working on reality show ideas that I would personally enjoy for some time now. If you missed them, please check out ‘The New Reality’ #I and #II . I guarantee you will love them or my name is not Chuck Barris and I am not a CIA assassin. My newest obsession is with Gypsies; I just can’t seem to get enough of their quirky shenanigans! Again, If you have not read Meet The Gypsies I suggest you do so now. So, I came up with a reality show just for them. This was a daunting task; to give the viewer a proper introduction into the daily lives of European Gypsies, and somehow, make their monotonous, boring lives at least somewhat entertaining. So I now give you…..
This would be loosely based on the internet sensation ‘Mafia Wars.’ We would follow a group of 8 gypsy families as they fight, stab, steal, and intoxicate themselves in an effort to win the title of Top Gypsy Clan. Each week, two families will vie for supremacy in a variety of skills challenges and competitions for the right to move on to the next round. Some of the preliminary challenges will include….
Small knife but big fucking stick fighting– Our Gypsy warriors will each be armed with a three inch blade and a really big fucking stick to battle it out in hand to hand combat. The victor can win by (A)-Knocking his opponent out. (B)-Stabbing his opponent into unconsciousness. (C)-Making his opponent tap out. (D)- And by FAR the most common; making his opponent run away screaming “Puta, Puta,” only to come back ten minutes later in a fit of demonic rage yet somehow be miraculously held back by his 90lb girlfriend. – He really, really wants to continue fighting but can never seem to break free of the ferocious womanly grip. Never the less, this challenger loses. The winner will be awarded 10 points for his clan, the sexual partner of his choosing, and the lion’s share of the ‘Iron Stomach’ challenge.
Iron Stomach– This challenge is a clan-wide competition, even the tots can play! It will be a happy mix of ‘Fear Factor,’ a drinking contest, and ‘Top Chef.’ The competitors will dive into the city dumpsters to find the days consumables by opening trash bags, jamming what they find into their mouths, and then occasionally spiting it back out onto their shirts. Then after gathering the culinary delights, they will consult with the clan’s sommelier to determine whether to go with the homemade hooch or buy a 99 cent bottle of rubbing alcohol, strain it through a loaf of bread, and add it to the 50 cent box wine that has been previously stolen. The rules now become very simple; the clan that has the most members consume the meal and drink, but has the fewest clan members throw up….wins! As a bonus to the losers, all members who die will be fewer mouths to feed the following day. So really, there are no losers. Well, except the dead Gypsies.
Project Gypsy Runway- These Gypsy fashionistas will root through dumpsters, steal from charity shops, and beg from people on the street to come up with the season’s hottest avant-garde Gypsy look. *This challenge was inspired just today as a passing gypsy asked my wife for the shirt she was wearing. Seriously.
Find that vein- These lucky contestants will pick a needle, any needle, off of the ground in front of their home, give it a cursory rinse with stream water, and prepare to use it. Some of the syringes will contain Hep. B, some will contain the HIV, some will contain ‘God knows what else,’ but they will all contain very low-grade heroin. The anxiety inducing part of the challenge will be finding a healthy, usable vein now that they have a loaded syringe ready. They have to be careful not to hit the radial artery in their hand though, or they will end up having to have a few fingers amputated….again. The irony in this challenge lies in the fact that to win this ‘immunity’ challenge, they will most likely contract a contagious disease. –I decided to add this challenge after learning that this is an event that they practice for daily.
Next week I will reveal the final few ‘Gypsy Wars’ games, and the wonderful prizes to be won! And as always; I’m open to ideas and suggestions!
Happy families are all alike; every Gypsy family is batshit crazy in its own way. We have psychotic, drunken, violent Gypsy neighbors; but hey, doesn’t everyone? They aren’t right next door at least, they’re kept at the rundown end of the village; but they are within spitting, throwing and screaming distance. And they are Olympic quality competitors in all three major events.
This is a rather large single family that lives in one house consisting of a matriarchal great-grandmother who is wheelchair bound, 2 cousins/brothers with 4 sons who are paired up with a combination of 5 different women, all producing 13 offspring (at last count) of multigenerational parentage. If that makes sense? What I’m saying is that everybody (and I mean everybody) has mated and produced children. Jerry Springer and Maury Povich couldn’t sort it out if you gave them a decade and a DNA lab. This is like West Virginia on Viagra.
Somehow they have money even though they have never worked. They don’t buy any food; they steal produce and chickens from the farmers and they steal what they can out of the stores. –This is a known and accepted part of village life. They don’t buy clothes or household goods either; they root through the dumpsters and bring home anything they find. What they do buy is cars, drugs and beer. They will spend 5 grand on a Peugeot and then go steal bread and diapers from the supermarcado. When they are caught, the shop owners will kick them out, but give them a loaf of crusty bread for their efforts.
Every single day at around 3:00pm after the morning’s alcohol has settled in, they begin screaming at each other in a language that is not Spanish, not Romanian and not coherent. They are usually either making threats about stabbing and hitting each other or are already in the process of stabbing and hitting each other. There is another family that often visits consisting of the same social dynamics and mating rituals as the first family. Every time that the family comes for a visit the town turns into a scene from ‘300;’ if all the actors in ‘300’ had beer bellies, opiate addictions and 3 teeth each.
I grew up in a fairly violent neighborhood, but nothing can prepare you for the sudden bloodbaths that erupt around the gypsies. They are always heavily intoxicated, so while it is never a display of MMA finesse, they still do manage to hurt each other quite badly. This weekend was another occasion of the Gypsy family feud. Just imagine if everyone in a trailer park in Kentucky tried to sit around and get drunk and high together. It would produce the same results.
Everyday at around 3:00pm we hear a high-pitched banshee-like wailing followed by breaking glass and, I believe, the sound of groin mauling. This time after a few minutes of commotion we also heard a revving engine, running and screaming, and then the sound of metal changing shape. Apparently they were all sitting around their booty of hoarded garbage when one cousin got it into his head that he had been slighted by his brother/uncle/cousin so he did the only logical thing. He walked calmly behind the offending gypsy and slammed a half filled wine bottle down upon his head. As the brother/uncle/cousin went down in a heap of homemade hooch and blood, the brother/father of the fallen gypsy jumped into the family Peugeot and tried to run over the offending gypsy. He missed. He found an unmovable object in a cement wall.
The first gypsy family all had run to the second story of their casa and they all proceeded to rain down upon the second family anything which could be picked up and thrown. Unfortunately, I didn’t get pics of the real carnage because I didn’t feel like getting stabbed. I was talking to an ER worker who told me that 3 of them came in for treatment. One of them had 2 sets of stitches from 2 separate, previous incidents that all took place in the last 10 days. He also told me that they do stab each other on a regular basis. Never fatally,…. YET. He told me that one single gypsy was treated 13 times in the past 2 years for stab wounds. At least they know the first rule of fight club because they never get arrested.
I’m not done with these people; not by a long shot! I feel like I’m sitting on a gold mine of material here, I just have to figure out what to do with it. I could start a GypsyFights.com modeled after BumFights. I could write a bizarre sitcom around their quirky but loveable behavior. I could launch another hair brained reality show….Real Gypsy Wives of Andalusia? Any other suggestions??