Words are first on my list for things I needed to learn upon arriving in Spain. Yes, needing to know the words for everything I need to say, but more importantly, all the information I need to hear. This is what I thought I’d be learning in Spain, and I have. Who knew how big a role numbers would play?
Let me begin with a small criticism of my back-asswards (as Bruce would say) country, who still believes the imperial system for numbering everything is the way to go. What are you thinking, America? You should just spend the one billion dollars or whatever it is you think it will cost, repaint the signs, republish the textbooks, and convert! Can we please begin to admit that the metric system is superior, that Centigrade makes more sense than Fahrenheit, and that a 24-hour clock is actually a much more logical way to arrange meeting times?
So I haven’t only had to learn that calamares muy fresco, when spoken proudly by a waitress as their premiere menu item, actually means squid with the head still on and the ink sac still intact, so when you cut into it everything is coated in black goo that adds to the slimy appeal (this isn’t my beautifully ringed calamari!), I’ve had to learn that 1.6 kilometers equals a mile, that one kilogram is equivalent to two pounds, that 14,000 feet (when trying to explain Colorado’s famous Fourteeners) equals 4267 meters, that 16:30 is 4:30 p.m., that 1.50€ for a liter of gas is equivalent 6€ for a gallon, that every time I spend 1€ it’s like spending $1.30, and that 38 degrees is TOO DAMN HOT.
Oh, and the buildings? The ones I put into my maps program which was working perfectly on Google Maps Application on my iPhone and now works like shit since I stupidly upgraded to iOS version FUCK OFF, I’M NOT IN ALICANTE? Their numbers are mysteriously etched in glass above doorways along streets whose names I have mostly memorized, because without my amazing Google Maps (how I miss you!), I would never know the names of the streets–there are random signs posted on buildings of proud owners who once spent the money, buildings not updated for years to the extent that I have had three, yes three, hometown Spaniards step out of cars or ask as they’re walking, “Can you tell me which street this is?” (I would like to add that the Spanish vocabulary for this question is well within my realm, and thanks to an accurate map program and a somewhat photographic memory, I have been able to respond appropriately all three times).
Now that I know how to navigate the complex systems of communication that exists between continents, I think, perhaps, it is time for me to learn what Spanish TV is all about… but wait… it’s 22:43, and the kilometers between here and where I need to be are heavier than a kilo of plums, the only fruit whose 0.99€/kilo price will fit into our limited basket of needs. My numbers, like my words, are running short.