Guest blogger John Scheck is getting significantly Spanish…
Whether it’s called a bar, a bodega, a cevercería, a tasca, or a café, every Spanish city has one or two on every block. If there are 1,000 places to grab a glass of wine or a beer in every Spanish city then you’ll need at least 1,000 excuses to visit. I’m the cautious type so I have more excuses than are legally required in Spain. Here are just a few.
-The bodega is right next to the bin where you drop off your recyclable plastics. I drop off my bag of recyclables and I stop in for a glass of wine; it’s called multi-tasking. I also recycle glass and paper separately. The bodega is also near the trash bin so this excuse counts as four (plastic, paper, glass, garbage) which is really multi-tasking. I could take all of my trash out at once but where’s the fun in that?
-I run out of wine at home so I stop in for a quick glass before I go to the supermarket to buy another bottle. This may sound redundant to you but I see things differently since I moved here.
-My cable TV is out in the apartment and Valencia CF is playing. This probably means that the cable isn’t working at the bar either but that’s a chance I’m willing to take.
-The café is an integral part in the quotidian life of the Spanish people and I need to be there to experience it. While I’m there I’ll need to drink a glass of wine or I’ll look like a tourist.
-The bodega is right on the corner so at least I won’t drink and drive. I don’t have a car but still. There are other consequences of drinking far from home. What if I got tipsy somewhere across town and then used the wrong metro card on the way home? I could waste a three-zone fare card on a one-zone ride. Also, friends don’t let friends take cabs drunk. Trying to explain to a cab driver where I live my labyrinthine neighborhood would be a chore for someone who is both sober and completely fluent in Spanish—two things I will probably never be at the same time, not any time soon at least.
-I don’t want to bore you with a lot of details concerning balance of payments, international currency fluctuations, and other macroeconomic insights that you wouldn’t understand anyway, but just trust me on this one: America and Spain are both counting on me to prop up our mutual reliance on free trade. Excuse me, I have to get back to work now.
-I hate to use the excuse that the bodega is between the metro stop and my front door because there is a bodega between everything and my front door. I’m surprised that there isn’t a bodega in the lobby of my building or on the elevator. I live on the fifth floor, how long am I supposed to go without a glass of wine? I promise that I will only use this excuse as a last resort.
-The bar is a good place to practice Spanish. I can also speak Spanish at the market, or the library, or museums, or at home with friends, or just about anywhere. This is Spain and they speak Spanish here (at least when they aren’t speaking Valenciano, or Catalan, or Basque, or Gallego like in the movie I saw recently). I think there is something that you aren’t fully grasping here and it’s kind of important. I can get a glass of wine at the bodega. Seeing that this is Spain, they probably serve wine at the library; I just don’t know where to ask.
When not drinking wine at the bodega, John Scheck can be found drinking wine at www.mediterraneanexile.blogspot.com – Check it out!