Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Getting off the stool

A warning: This blog will contain lots of rude and crude words. Do not continue if you are easily offended.

I've not been to the doctor very often whilst I've been in Spain. I did have to go though - years ago - because I had a problem with my waterworks, a certain pain when I urinated. As I walked into the doctor's office I apologised for not knowing the doctor words for certain actions and parts. Consider that I were talking to you about my bathroom habits. The verbs would be shit and piss, I'm sorry. They would not be defecate, micturate and urinate; I would not talk of motions, stools, faeces, movements or waterworks and I find the half way words like pee and pooh (does it have an h?) much more embarrassing than the Anglo Saxon words. At the doctor's though it's all bowels and penis.

Maggie has been pruning trees in our garden, she started with the almonds. She learned how to do it from a range of  YouTube videos. She preferred the one where the demonstrator didn't say that you had to get rid of all the shit in the middle of the tree. Gardeners don't have the same reputation as rappers for bad language so I presume it must be an everyday sort of word for at least one gardener.

We saw a Pat Metheny concert in Cartagena a while back. Maggie loves Pat. We were on the front row and Pat dropped a plectrum within arms length - at least my arm was long enough to requisition it for the good of the people. Someone else tried the same thing later, with another plectrum, and was berated by one of the roadies "Would you like it if I came around your house and stole your shit?" The translation would be nothing more than stuff.

Shit is a multi-purpose word. There are lots like it in Spanish, words that are more or less friendly, vulgar or attacking depending on tone of voice and situation. This includes the direct translation of shit. You can be complaining, you can be being rude, you can be describing a process and you can be no different to a Pat roadie.

The Valencian Community seems to be worried about my shit. More accurately they are worried about the health of my bowels. This is good; at least I think it is. They have a campaign for men and women between the ages of 50 and 69 to check whether we may have bowel cancer or not.  First they sent us a letter and when we sent back the "Yes, we'd love to participate" card they sent us a little stick inside a container. You don't need to be able to read Spanish to understand the instructions in the images above. The black thing is a turd. Once the stick was back inside the sealed container it was off to the collection point in the local health centre. Actually Maggie took it whilst I went for breakfast at Eduardo's. I wonder if it will be a person or a machine that has the job of checking the, presumably, thousands of samples? Whilst most of us will get a standardised "no problem" letter some will get the "please pop into the health centre" version.

Back at Eduardo's everyone wanted to know where Maggie was. When I explained one of the Brits retorted with - !Ah, playing Pooh Sticks." I thought it was clever.

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