Archive | November, 2015

The Blanket Skirt: What Friends Are For

24 Nov

I had a piece of blue tartan fabric lying around and sewed it into a skirt –plain and rough, more for practise (see item 12 on the list) than fashion. But I wear it anyway.

Now there´s a woman I know, really pretty with long black hair, always dressed smartly. When she saw my skirt, she started laughing.

“Is that a blanket you´re wearing?” she grinned.

I explained her that it wasn´t, that I had sewn it myself. Showed her how amateurishly the zipper had been installed.

“Oh,” she said.

That evening I looked at the skirt again and realised that, yes, the fabric was indeed intended for blankets. Whatever, I thought. And the next day I wore it again to take my daughter to school.

When I met up with my friends at the school gate, Ramón pointed at the skirt with a smirk on his face and said: “What are you doing wearing a blanket?”

I just smiled and shrugged my shoulders.

Then suddenly the black-haired woman, who is part of our little group, turned to Ramón and told him off in a stern voice.

“Hey!” she said. “She sewed that skirt herself, you know!”

She was all serious, not a trace of irony.

I hadn´t felt in the least offended by that blanket-remark, but still I thought that was really sweet of her.



Supermarket Serenade

3 Nov

I can´t count the times when I fled from a store simply because of the background music. I walk in, become instantly overwhelmed, and just walk out. Or I try to cope, grab some clothes to try on, head for the changing room, and then leave without trying on a single piece, spurting out as if some monster were on my heels. And I know that when afterwards I relate my unhappy adventures I sound like an eighty-year-old. (“It wasn´t music, it was just noise! And why do they put it so loud?” Yes, grandma. Get over it.)

I used to have only one Happy Background Music Memory (“Love me tender” in a secondhand bookstore), but now, I´m delighted to say, I have two.

It happened last week at the supermarket. I was trying to decide what brand of cereal to buy (another high score on the grandma-scale), when I heard flamenco. Live flamenco, sung by a booming male voice. Following the trail of sound I arrived at the supermarket´s fish department. The South-American saleswoman who always smiles and puts extra parsley with my salmon, had come from behind the stalls with fish and crushed ice and was standing in the aisle. Before her were three men, all dressed in the same darkblue tracksuit. Jobmates, I suppose. They looked like they had been driving around in a van and had popped in at the supermarket to get a snack for on the road.

The tallest of the three, a slender, grey-haired guy, who looked more like a retired James Bond than a gypsy, had gone down on one knee in front of the saleswoman.
Esa mujer,” he sang, with that typical flamenco vibrato. The whole department vibrated along with his love song. The woman smiled -she always smiles, but this man had managed to make her smile even wider. When he had finished, he got up and they chatted a little, like the old friends they probably were.

Nothing like a decent bit of serenade to lighten up your shopping.