“What brought you to this non-touristy place?” the women asked. I told them in my rudimentary Spanish about several previous visits to Spain. Paco was unimpressed. I began to wonder why I wanted friendship with someone who didn’t. Then he leaned across the table with a challenge: “So if you have already been to all those places, why do you keep returning to Spain?”
I was on the spot, but suddenly remembered a pun invented by my brother, Tim. “Porque soy un Espinaco,” I blurted: “Because I’m a Spainiac.”
A chorus of laughter from the women and the crowd at the adjoining tables because “Espinaco” doesn’t exist in Spanish. I silently thanked Tim.
The ghost of a smile appeared, then another challenge: “So, eh, what do you do in California?” By this time, I was fed up with thrust and parry and, sadly, had given up on being his friend.
“I paint pictures of naked women,” I growled, and then demanded in return, “So, eh, what do you do here in Spain?”
“I stick needles in people’s asses.”
More laughter, more wine. That was more than 30 years ago. We’re still laughing.
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One thought to “My Friend Paco”
If “unruffled” is sort of smooth and undisturbed, then this watercolor/drawing seems to capture “ruffledness.” The casual displacement of books and newspaper and the folds and draping of clothes and throws contrast with the linear quality of the lamp, the paintings on the walls, the pedestal, legs of the tables and so forth. This is not a rendering of “a place for everything and everything in its place,” but it is also not disorganized or confused. You can be certain, that nothing gets lost. It may be casual, but it is not chaotic or helter-skelter. The bookshelves capture that quality very succinctly: serpentine with books stacked at all angles.
Incidentally, the coloring of only some of the elements of the drawing gives the whole piece a dynamic quality that invites the viewer to complete the work with his/her imagination. (e.g. Opera aperta. Umberto Eco)