In Which I Discover I Am Not Mediterranean

Film, Observatory

Back in London, having missed the ‘month’s rain in a day’ climate change event that killed a New Zealand tourist in Kew Gardens (the rain washed down a branch) I’ve gone straight into jumper-and-jeans mode after the 30 degrees-on-beach afternoon I spent in Barcelona yesterday, and have reluctantly realised that I will never be a Mediterranean, probably for the following reasons;

1. Studied Latin, not ‘am Latin’.

2. Keep reading books through siesta.

3. Have trouble adjusting to dinner at midnight (still considered a bit early, even by old ladies).

4. Can’t eat octopus tentacle with one hand, hold sherry in other, look after four children under ten and carry on talking to friend as if this is actually relaxing.

5. Don’t respond to being overtaken by trying to kill other driver.

6. Can’t sit on beach for eight hours listening to iPod while examining fingernails.

7. Don’t tend to break into spontaneous singling/dancing when there are more than three of us standing together in street.

8. Am still bothered by smell of hot drains.

9. Tendency to think of parks after midnight as places for muggers, sex workers, not somewhere to take kids for picnic.

10. At age of five had long list of foods I would not touch, instead of happily being fed razor clams.

11. Simply not used to standing around in street, sitting on steps making phonecalls, or even being outside.

12. Do not look cool with narrow sideburns, shades, skateboards, skinny-fit white shirts, silver jewellery as all non-Latin Northern hemisphere white men have a tendency to the ginger gene.

13. When temperature is 28 degrees I put on shorts, not a scarf.

14. Do not expect Vegetarian Menu to include Foie Gras.

15. Feel embarrassed when I see two dogs stuck together in street, do not laugh loudly and point out sight to children.

16. Fail to cope well with lack of urgency ie. if someone asks me why I have not done something, do not tend to shrug.

17. Used to seeing flowers out of window, not old lady hanging big pants on windowsill.

18. Have a feeling I won’t be able to manage twenty flights of stairs with shopping bags at age of 80.

19. Feel embarrassed when topless girl in thong asks for light.

20. Born to queue, to look awkward in social situations, to speak softly, to always avoid eye contact and to appreciate the value of a decent winter overcoat.

I really wish I was Latin.

10 comments on “In Which I Discover I Am Not Mediterranean”

  1. Ford says:

    #20 …. I’m not sure that the English are born to queue; just just insist that everyone else (particularly foreigners!) do!

  2. Dan Terrell says:

    I’m confused. You were just in Miami when?

  3. Demelza says:

    I was always amazed by the volume level of talking in restaurants in Spain and the number of small children running around at midnight. I lived in Madrid when they won some big football championship and the celebrations went on for 3 days, mainly around the Cibeles roundabout fountain, stopping traffic. In London it would’ve been moved on or everyone would’ve been on pavements. In Spain – they just accepted it was how to properly celebrate! I definitely like some of their attitudes towards life but got annoyed at others, especially the Manana attitude to fixing anything.

  4. Demelza says:

    Oh and they think ham is a vegetable. A vegetarian friend of mine was repeatedly offered ham as a non-meat.

  5. Alan G says:

    Ford – the English are NOT born to queue! Just try to jump a queue and you will have to endure the “tsks” and the sub-audio murmurs. Of course, if anybody challenges you, you will have to defend yourself against the blank-faced sneers coming your way.

    As an Irishman with a Glasgow accent I tend to win this sort of dispute in this leafy borough – I must be carrying a gun.

  6. andrea yang says:

    Really enjoyed your list!

  7. John Howard says:

    Of course the English ARE born to queue. It is part of our nurturing from birth. We queue for everything. The only exceptions are those of the ‘me’ persuasion who have been abroad and decided to pick up the worst of the non queueing attitudes from those pesky foreigners.

    Alan – Youse celtic bampots unnerstan noughin….

    Well, Dan. Yet another opportunity for a rant. (Even if I didnt mean half of it.)

    Fabulous list Admin, bought back many memories of growing up in Malta and Gibraltar.

  8. Dan Terrell says:

    As far as I’m concerned, the rants on this site are almost always interesting and fun. I am excluding the rants like a load of bricks crashed through the skylight and showered down on the dinner table while we were chatting. (You will remember those. The ones howling about that young woman with the pasteboard visage.) The bad rants are now found on the websites for the local newspapers and are written with reagrd to our ongoing and quite amazing national election. Generally a quarter of the posts seem to be deleated by the papers as breaking their rules of blogging. Civil discourse, my rear bumper.
    Anyone know the bricks, skylight and dinner table analogy as first said and by whom?

  9. Helen Martin says:

    Queuing is essential in civilised society. It establishes proper order, as in the first person in line is served first. It reduces the need for physical contact and conversation unless someone jumps the queue and must be tsked at. It organizes a crowd out of the way of passers-by. There is no rush for any doors involved. No one will line up to exit a burning building, though. Civilisation has its limits.

  10. glasgow1975 says:

    #13 – In Brisbane I was in my shorts & t shirts whilst even my sister still had her vest on and a wooly cardie most days, temp was 26-32 my whole stay!

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