Sunday, January 31, 2010

Why Can´t Delora Be Tranquila?


As she stands in the lift line in the Sierra Nevadas on the best ski day of the season, Delora can´t help but feel dissatisfied that she hasn´t learned the secret to Spanish tranquility.  She sees the baby blue sky and the packed power and knows that she should feel joy at the prospect of skiing this magnificent mountain 11,400 feet above sea level.  Instead, Delora wants to know the answer to a secret.  She want to know how the Spanish remain so carefree, joyful even, while being jostled in a crowd.  She wants to unleash her inner zen so that when someone blows smoke in her face in the "line", she will accept the Buddhist mantra that we are all one.  Instead, Delora looks at the inefficiencies of thousands of skiers in a funnel formation pushing each other towards a small entrance to the chair lift.  Delora notes that if she managed the world, she would install a system of alleys that would force people to queue into a line. But this is only in Delora´s perfect world.  Inspira, expira, she says to herself as she practices breathing exercises and her Spanish all at the same time.

The breathing doesn´t help and Delora feels her inner hostilities being released when the man behind her puts both of his skis on top of hers and pushes her forward.  She recalls reading in the book, Spain is Different, that Spaniards have a different sense of personal space than Americans do.  She reminds herself to embace this cultural difference!  Delora should be a gracious and kind Ambassadoress for Americans everywhere.  She should not be an ugly American.  But Delora is from New Jersey, where people are killed for lesser offenses than riding on the back of someone's skis. Delora turns to give a warning glare to the offender, but as she turns, she sees her husband and children watching her closely, so she decides to take one for the team.  After all, she is testing out rental skis.  Who cares if there´s a 200 pound man on-board scratching them up?
Can you see the smoke in this picture???

She puts up with this annoyance for several more minutes seconds and then she snaps.  She says the only thing she can think of in Spanish that might be appropriate and that she knows she can pronounce correctly, "Hombre, en serio?"  Man, are you serious?  Managing to free her skis from under his,  she then places both of her skis right on top of his tips.   He looks at her with a puzzled look. Delora immediately feels much better, then much worse. Delora's family looks like they are not at all surprised at her outburst.

Later, Delora has an introspective session with herself where she admits that she is unable to let the little things go.  She has recently read an article that says that this very quality is the secret to happiness. She wonders whether her failures are due to her birth order, some German DNA, or what. Then Delora admits to herself that she is happy in other ways.  She regrets that she is not always a great spirit guide to her children and that she cannot always be a gracious Ambassadoress for America.  She is not naturally tranquil -- at all.  She hopes that another few months in Spain will help, or at the very least, that she can summon a tranquility super power.

110 comments:

Mental P Mama said...

Mental P is loving this third person perspective. But thenn Mental P has the same lessons to learn...do tell: Is Delora's family still speaking to her? Mental P's is not.

Nathalie said...

Were you at La Pinilla or Valdesqui? The ski line experience and general rudeness can be quite a shock in France and Spain (have had more experience with skiing in France). I got especially traumatized by these seemingly well-bred French "grande bourgeoises" who would shamelessly cut in front of me at the ski school drop off. My husband who is more Latin and confrontational has a special tactic. "Excuse Madam, I'm in front of you and so is this person that person and that person." You won't succeed in shaming them. They always have a pat excuse--I didn't see you or he (the person in charge of the line) was motioning to me, but they will back off. Another time at Club Med in the French Alps this older woman tried to cut in front of him in the afternoon snack buffet line. When he confronted her, she pointed to her crutch and said "I'm handicapped" to which my husband replied "And I have four children."

My solution to your zen issue--become more confrontational, otherwise you'll just be seething with anger inside and the "cara" of some people. In general, it's a better model for your children to have a mother who stands up for herself, even if you embarass them.

Won't help with ski lines but you'll have truly gone native when you fill out your first "hoja de reclamaciones" a vestigial Franquista relic that will gain you the respect of every service industry person in Spain the moment you mention it.

Anonymous said...

I would not worry about being tranquil. Worry about the 2nd hand smoke

Tay said...

Summoning a tranquility superpower maybe, but come on--you know better. Are you seriously asking yourself that question? We know and love you for who you are. Tranquila Delora just wouldn't do.

Nathalie said...

Can also recommend the passive aggressive route.

For the second hand smoke, take advantage of the vastly unregulated state of Spanish farmaceuticals and buy yoursef an asthma inhaler. Start coughing loudly and uncontrollably, almost fainting if possible, while taking a pitiful puff on your inhaler making it clear that you are allergic to smoke and will pass out at any moment.

The only downside is the last time I tried this (in an airport line when I was in danger of not making a connecting flight) I was 6 months pregnant and an actual obstetrician in the line wanted to treat me...

Leah said...

So there I was in a very similar situation--people not speaking english, standing/stomping on my skiis, smoking in my face, hundreds of skiers lined up with no forward progress, and I thought to myself, There are lines to que you, and there even is an underpaid person to direct traffic, but I'm still NOT getting anywhere!! So thirty minutes later (and I'm sweating from the frustration in line), I finally get to the summit, trip over three people who've fallen getting off the lift, buckle in my boots, and 14 seconds later I'm back at the bottom in the line, again.. (Thank you Wachusett "mountain" middle massachuestts)
[The moral of this story: thank heavens you at least enjoyed some good skiing from your agony] I would kill for 14k vertical, and anything other than ice balls slopes for my "black diamond" ski day..] xoxo
ps- if you were wondering the "savages" in line were speaking text language LOL, ROFL etc.. where have all the educated people gone...

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Gilman said...

We were not the least bit embarrassed by your actions. We were just sizing up the crowd to figure out who we would have to take out first once the fur began to fly. We love you just the way you are.

BuffaloBrowns said...

I am thinking that perhaps the key to "Tranquila" is something as simple as a flask of "Tequila" (or similar libation) tucked safely inside your ski garb for just such "opportunities".... :)

tom said...

Tommy likes when Delora speaks of herself in the 3rd party

Sue sue said...

How interesting or enjoyable would Delora be if she became just another tranquil Madridite??? - anyway I think it just MIGHT be in the genes and we love YOU!

Mia said...

Just reading this made me feel tranquil. And it made me laugh. It is bedtime in NYC so I certainly appreciate both things. Hope all is well over there! We think of you guys often. Hey--here's a question: how was Valentine's Day in Espana? I googled "Valentine's Day in Spain" and got this: "Valentine's Day in Spain is very elaborate." Do tell! ???

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