Friday, July 16, 1999

Hola del centro del universo conocido

...or rather hello from the center of the known universe...
Hola everybody!

Well, I just realized I haven't sent an update for a while-- it wasn't for lack of desire to write, more an over-abundance of something that hasn't been very abundant until recently: WORK. My god what an ugly word. It was such fun here pretending that I was the independently wealthy son of the Count of Lumberton. Now I pretend I know how to write computer programs and design data warehouses (don't ask, I don't understand it either).

As was quite familiar to me for the last two years, I'm traveling four days a week for good ole Oracle again. I'm assigned to Mallorca-- this big island the size of connecticut (I think) in the Med. It's a really beautiful place. Michael Douglas is there now with his new girlfriend Katherine Zeta-Jones, I saw it on Antena Tres... and how does a guy like that end up with a woman like that without the universe imploding? Kind of like Ric Ocasek and Paulina Porcegoddesskova (or whatever her name was).

I'm not always in Mallorca, tho. They let me stay here in Barcelona on the weekends. My friends Steve and Caroline and their kids Bavard (I know I just slaughtered that) and Kyle came to stay for a while, down in Sitges. I have an exceptionally long and excruciatingly detailed story to tell about the trip, which I really don't have the energy to tell. Suffice to say that the story is about my almost failed attempt to take the train to Sitges to visit. There was a part about boarding the wrong train, and another about a conductor who spoke more rapidly the more I appeared not to understand, and a poorly printed ticket in a town some 50 miles from Barcelona, and how because of said ticket there ensued a blinding sprint to catch a second train on platform 14 (which looked exceptionally like platform 12 on said poorly printed ticket), and how there ensued a lot of gasping and foolishness. Whew. Oh yeah, there was also a part about how all of these mistakes added up to me passing accidentally through the valley where they make Freixnet Champagne, and how mind-bogglingly terrific that was, and how that probably would have been like accidentally turning the wrong corner and tripping over the holy grail for me five years ago, but how now it was just kinda ehhh (I passed on the free samples). It was a great story, if you can imagine it.

Sitges was pretty fabulous, or rather faaabulous. Lotsa transvestites and German tourists in shorts with black socks (not that there's anything wrong with that, or maybe there is) and faaaantastic houses built by people who probably would have been kind of weird in their own countries but who ended up being very rich and very weird here. That happens all the time here. I was with my friend Beatriz in Mallorca on Wednesday, and we went out to look at the sea from this 100 foot high cliff, and she pointed out the house of Keerk Dooogless (Kirk Douglas). Earlier we were walking through this little town called Vallereal which appeared to have been built by gnomes during an overly productive stage, and she casually pointed out the house where Frederik Chopin had lived (and died). Ho hum. I live in Spain. I grew up in Lumberton, Texas, the smallest town known to anyone, anywhere. Parece mentira.

I'm not going to gripe about learning Spanish this time. As usual, I have good days and bad days. The good days I think I've finally got it and it'll never go away. The bad days I think that I must have been out of my mind to come here and that I'll never learn the staggering mountain of words, phrases, and rules which I must learn before I can stop sounding like a four year old. Actually, the four year olds sound better, I probably should hire one to interpret for me.

The other day I realized it was the fourth of July here, about one minute before midnight. I rushed out to the street (it is *never* late here) with some half-formed idea that I had to tell someone that it was independence day and was as far as Avenida Gaudi before I realized that there really was absolutely no one to tell. On the other hand, I was hanging out on the dock on Monday night in Mallorca (which is what people do for fun there, hang out on docks) and a fireworks display just started up out of nowhere for no reason that I could determine. It was so beautiful that it was kind of ridiculous. It reminded me of the night before I left Pennsylvania and I was hanging out on the porch with my brother Travis, and the town of Carlysle fired off an impromptu fireworks display. We realized that you don't really get the full benefit from a fireworks display after about three minutes unless you're under twelve years old or you're on your first date with someone.

As usual I've written three times as much as I should have, so you'll have to imagine the part where I tell you all how much I miss you, and how you have to come visit (except Steve and Caroline, who now have to imagine that I'm asking them to come visit again), and not to worry cuz I'm having a blast here, and how you really have to write me a letter now, okay? Take care, -Tim