Monday, May 10, 2010


First off, blogging has been put on hold with finals and wrapping up life in Sevilla. I can't believe this is my last week in Sevilla but I'll save the retrospective posts for another night. Tonight I ate dinner with Antonio, my grandpa of sorts, and I realized although he's made a few appearances here, his persona merits much more. Antonio is one of the most animated speakers I've ever seen and every one of his stories, no matter the subject, is told in Homeric fashion, every detail drawn out like a fine gem. I don't have to add much to the conversation, and once he gets going, he's going. So here's some excerpts from dinner tonight that I hope you can enjoy. There's a chance it's one of those things where you have to be here, but you be the judge.

Like I said, he's very animated, so I've provided a legend to help organize his favorite physical gestures:

~Throws one hand up in the air.
@Points at something (usually me) with a knife.
#Counts something on his fingers, slow and deliberately.
$Picks up his glass and sets it down firmly with a little thud.
^Stands up, pulls up his pants starting from the back and working forward.
%Points everywhere around the room. (Usually emphasizing that he's always running around.)
&Lifts right elbow and puts his fist down firmly as if he's punching the table at a right angle.
*Takes glasses off, rubs eyes, puts them back on. (This takes around 15 seconds to finish.)

Antonio comes to the table after a loud argument with Dolores in the kitchen over whether or not he took his pills.

Antonio: "Do you have a girlfriend?"@
Me: "No but I like girls." (There's a backstory between us where one time, just one time, I accidentally said I met a cute "amigo" instead of "amiga", and he doesn't let me live it down.)
Antonio: "That's the way to be. That's the easiest way. If there's one thing I know it's that a small ring can castrate a large bull."^
Me: "Haha."
Antonio: "As you know, she says I didn't take my pills. Here's the truth. I always tell you the truth."@
Me: "I want to hear it."

Antonio: "I went to the pharmacy today to pick up my medicine. I've got a friend there of course who tells me there's a pill that's the same as the one I take, but easier on the stomach. I buy it of course. You know my stomach always hurts me."$

"Now the grandma wants me to take both of them. It makes me crazy. I'm going to go crazy. She's the crazy one but I'm joining her shortly. Kaka con la leche (literally means "crap with my milk").

"Maybe I'll give it to the dog." $

"You know how many dogs I've had?"@

Me: "A lot."

Antonio: "Of course. While Luis, the oldest was still a child, we bought a cat. When we bought it she was "chiquitititito" (very small). But it grew. Then it bit Salvador, and Luis next. And I said to the woman then, "The cat must go". By that time it was the biggest cat you've ever seen. You wouldn't believe it @. Incredibly big. Biggest cat you've ever seen. Bigger than any if your cats if you have cats." @

Me: "I have two."

Antonio: "I took it to her brother's farm and let it go. I'm serious, this cat was a lion, which is why it attacked the children."

"You won't believe what happened."*

"It ate two roosters."

Me: "Is that true?"

Antonio: "I always tell you the truth, uncle". (The word is tio, which literally means uncle but really means something along the lines of "dude".) @

"I make dinner for # you, for the grandma, for me, for Santiago, then I # clean, I repair shoes, I go to the doctor. %%%%. Always running around. Kaka con la leche."

"But you wouldn't believe another dog we had. Best dog ever. Incredible dog. Buenisimo perro. More obedient than my kids and quieter than my wife. I loved that dog but it got big. Got very big. I gave it to a friend of mine, the one I told you sings flamenco in Triana. He's from Triana like us. (Locality is very important here.)

"I told him, Listen, this is the best dog and you won't believe it. And now @ Yas (me), I tell you the same. Very good dog."

Me: "I've got a great dog right now."

Antonio: "Ahhh. Always running around. I work more now than I did repairing shoes. And then I was earning good money. Many men came up to me when I stopped and demanded I repair their shoes because I was very good. I only do leather shoes, you know."

Me: (And this is by far my favorite topic) "What are all your pills for?"

Antonio: @ "Look. # One for my nerves. Two for my tension. One for my sugars. You know I used to be a lion myself but now I have all this skin. Way too much skin. There's 2 pills for my mouth. You know the sore I showed you. It's the one that hurts when I brush my teeth. You wouldn't believe it. I'm always taking pills now and you know my stomach always hurts. Kaka con la leche."*

Me: "Yeah I know. I'm sorry for you."

Antonio: "You know I used to run from here to Plaza de Nervion. It's very far." @

Me: "You really ran that far?"

Antonio: "Without sweat. You wouldn't believe it."^

Antonio: "And now I've finished. It's time to rest. "^

The end. I know a lot of you are wishing you had five minutes back but I thought Antonio deserved a shout-out. I know it sounds a little choppy, but you have to picture the man kind of like a kind, giving his decrees in little increments.

Well I guess that's all I have to say about that...