I wonder, is there an end to the talk about how to rinse, cut, sink, brush and comb the curls, perms, braids, buns and ponytails in which my female coworkers passionately engage every time any of them makes the slightest, most unnoticeable to-no-one-except-them modification of her straight, dry, greasy, dyed, iron-curled or whatever scalp they happen to own at the moment? ‘Cos in my office at least it is relentless, incessant, non-stop, formidable.


And be like Johnnie too good

Saturday morning. I go biking. On my way out of the city I see a female coworker in her way in to the city to waste some hours doing overtime at the so-called parking day in which some streets are emptied of cars and children are invited to be expected to what? Don’t play soccer don’t play rough don’t play un-inclusively no competition allowed everybody has their prize don’t dare go to the street beyond don’t do anything without adult supervision if you’re wronged come here my darling and tell your teacher. But at least she’s worth looking at, in passing.

Although I’m out of form, I try na Burguesa, the tallest peak around. I fail at 2/3rds of the summit. No fellow cyclists around, by the way, and definitely none of the ones carrying 3000 euros worth of equipment on them. Just one mountain biker on my way up and two on my prudish and ridiculously-paced way down.

Saturday evening. Richard Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some. You end up wondering if you’ve been cheated into thinking you’ve just seen another no-brains movie or if, on the contrary, a very inconsequential film is infiltrated with very interesting dialog and scenography to make you think this isn’t another no-brains movie.

Sunday morning. I try my new gadget to clean windows—a windows sucker. You apply your ordinary windows cleaner to the glass and then you proceed to vacuum. And it works, actually better than expected.

Sunday afternoon. Rio Conchos. Not a bad story made into a very watchable western whose very most merit lies on the way their heroes are not.

I must be set in my old ways

This young man held a post in this office some time in the past, and then got a promotion and went elsewhere. He was liked and well regarded by his colleagues at work.

After he left, he got involved in high school activity as a father of two girls and was appointed president of the federation of parents’ local associations, which gave him some renown and made him kind of a (lesser) public figure.

Last week, his face showed up in a photograph in a local paper, because an old, leftist political party in quest of renovation had apparently sounded him for a leading place in its lists as an independent candidate. The article was badly laid out, though, and actually induced the casual reader to think that he (our young man) was in fact being engaged with the old, rightist political party.

When a guy at the office wholeheartedly, cheerfully, naively points to the young man’s picture in the paper and says out loud for everyone to share his joy, ‘Look, it’s <the young man’s name>, he’s on the news again, and this time big time!’ another coworker raises her ugly,  anger-filled face to bitterly retort, ‘Yeah, but he’s joining the <name of the wrong party>’.

So there you have it, spontaneously acted out for the benefit of your eyes and ears —atavistic, careless, silly bonhomie (he’s our friend, he’s flourishing: let’s celebrate) versus sophisticated, pointed, self-righteous and hate-inducing moral and political judgmentalism (he used to be on the right side; now he’s mean, less than decent; he’s not our friend any more —quite the contrary).

Collecting sinners in an old tin cup.

Such a shame

Someone from inside went all the way out to stand before me and tell me in by no means a friendly or discreet way that didn’t I know that you couldn’t pay fines here, only get the form to pay them at the bank? I had actually told a young guy he could pay there right at the desk!

The problem is, as much as I’d like to know who it was who scolded me, I can’t, because it happened on my first week at my new post and frankly, they all were blurry faces to me back then yet. I’d really love to hate her and long hold a grudge against her but find I’m getting nowhere on that path because no matter how hard I try to match her face against the ones I’m able now to put a name on—I can’t.

And now that I come to think of it, it might be perfectly the case that I’m actually being nice to her, without knowing so. Such a shame, isn’t it?

The good, the bad, and the ugly

I spot an inconsistency in the written material they gave us in this particular online course here at work —an article in the law had been updated by a more recent one and consequently superseded. I say so in the course billboard so that everyone is aware. I expect a reply by the teacher —Hey, thank you for pointing the class to that! I’ll update the material to incorporate the new phrasing to that article, and I’ll warn everybody about it so that they won’t get it wrong. What I get: the old material gets erased, the teacher begins saying things according to the new phrasing without even saying that what she’s saying now contradicts what she had said many times before, and my message in the forum gets unanswered, as it had never been, never should have.

Time for the second test on the same course, a few days later. I get 9 out of 10, and when I review the test I see that the answer assigned to the question I failed is probably wrong. I email both the teacher and the course coordinator telling them about it, attaching the corresponding screenshot, and asking them very politely if they can give the matter some consideration and tell me whether I’m wrong or right about its having the wrong answer. I’m not even asking for a re-scoring of my test. What I get: no reply. That’s how I know I’m right.

A colleague of mine came about three weeks ago to my workplace and told me he was going to do some very minor repairs there, in the coming days or weeks. I had forgotten all about it when today he calls me to say the repairs had been written off the list so he wasn’t doing them. The thing was perfectly unimportant, he could’ve spared himself the trouble to tell me, but he cared.

Who of them would you buy a second-hand car from?

Are you?

Today I attended the first, presential class of a short online course for employees at my (kind of) company. While waiting for the class to start, I heard a female co-worker greeting a male acquaintance of hers, a policeman who intended to sign in on the same course, with a ‘Hey man, what are you here for, to watch us?’, to what the wronged guy just happened to reply with a pitiful ‘No, no, just attending… We policemen are people, too…’

Such an impertinent casual remark followed by such a pathetic response had to be reported here.

there's that woman

There’s that woman, where I work, in her fifties, always serene and perfectly well-behaved, her beautiful voice never at the wrong volume, speaking in the right tone, her Catalan speech rich and genuine, a pleasure to listen to. A person you instantly feel you could confide on, reliable, in ever control of the situation, smart and wise, who knows her stuff and is willing to share it with the people who attend her informal, free classes of traditional dance and music. A self-possessed woman who walks on top of the world and cares for it, thinking globally, acting locally and always sure she’s doing the calmed right thing.

Can’t stand her.