Surreal enough for Dalí?

Where to start?

Surreal conversation number one

‘Hello, police.’

‘Hello, officer, there is a car illegally blocking us in. It’s parked on a yellow line in a tow away zone. We can’t get out.’

‘Give me the number, I’ll try and contact them and ask them to move it.’

Wouldn’t want to be in a rush, would we?

‘It’s not a Gibraltarian car. It’s Spanish.’

‘Can’t do anything about that. Ring the tow truck.’

‘The tow truck?’

‘Yes, I’ll give you the number, although I don’t think they open until eight. You can always try though.’

‘Why can’t you ring them?’

‘It’s not our truck. We don’t have one.’

That will no doubt explain why I have seen tow trucks with staff wearing ‘police’ jackets getting out of them.

‘It’s the car parks. Not our department. They will probably tell you they don’t have a tow truck.’

‘So what do I say then?’

‘You have to talk it out.’

I rang the car park tow truck number. They didn’t answer.

Have Land Rover, will carefully shunt back offending vehicle causing no problem.

I’d only wasted twenty minutes on phone calls. I guess police don’t deal with illegally parked vehicles any more. Unless they want to of course.

Fast forward to later in the week.

Surreal conversation number two

In the heat of the day we were sitting in our cool shady kitchen, looking out onto the terrace, and, beyond that, the sea.

The sun is so high it doesn’t enter the kitchen, so at 11 am or before, we all, us and the dogs, move inside. We’ve been outside since seven so we’ve had our outside fix.

Next doors were outside though. Sitting or standing under their hideous chapas. These are basically corrugated tin roofs. Vile. Tasteless. Cold in winter, hot in summer.

The conversation next door went as follows. Translated from the Spanish.

Cast: José (89), Adelina (86), daughter Marcie (52), husband Antonio (55), older son (24), younger son (22).

M: ‘You can’t have a ham sandwich for breakfast. I can’t afford to pay for you to eat jamón serrano.’

(Spanish cured ham, about five euros for a pack of thin slices.)

J: ‘But I’ve always had it, that’s what I like.’

M: ‘I can’t manage the budget with you eating jamón serrano for breakfast. Eat an orange instead.’

But clearly he didn’t want, because the next day I was given two bags of fruit and veg which included five oranges.

I'd eaten one
I’d eaten one

To put this into perspective, they have six people living under one roof. For many years, the only income was José’s pension. It funded all six of them, plus a couple of fiddle jobs earned by Marcie and Antonio. His daughter and her family live in a house on the back, built by José and the daughter’s husband. No mortgage. Nada.

The two sons have finally got jobs (unlike half of the young people in Spain), so more money is coming in. So why can José not have a ham sandwich for breakfast? It’s hardly done him any harm over the years if he’s got to 89. Nor do Adelina and José drink or smoke or drive. Whereas the younger family between them have one motorbike and three cars to tax and insure.

And killing him off would lose the pension.

Meanwhile, on starving Spaniards …

Surreal food scenario

Here is an article about gleaners in Catalunya.

People are harvesting the unwanted crops for food banks.

I can’t comment on Catalunya but in my part of Andalucía, the crops aren’t so much unwanted, the growers can’t make enough money out of harvesting them. So they all go to waste.

Contributing to apparently 88m tonnes of wasted food in Europe each year at an estimated cost of £113bn. This is the EU famed for butter mountains and milk lakes and now we have wasted vegetables and food banks. But still, Spain’s bankers continue to meander around these minor austerity problems faced by the working classes.

Beans. Hopefully not too many wasted :(
Beans. Hopefully not too many wasted :(

Surreal bullish life

Next, we have a report about Pamplona and their despicable running of the bulls. Apparently all these testosterone fuelled men can’t limit themselves to bulls. They need to victimise women too:

Police in Pamplona have arrested 16 men over the last few days as they investigate reports of five violent sexual attacks – including a rape and an attempted rape – and 11 allegations of sexual assault.

To be fair, city councillor Aritz Romeo isn’t stupid.

“I think the reasons are basically cultural; they’re rooted in the false belief that men are superior to women and that women are there to satisfy them. It’s a sexist and patriarchal culture.”

Very good. And when you join the dots, Romeo, you will realise that bullfighting is merely the same thing. Just using and abusing animals rather than women. But difficult to say that when it’s rather a large income stream for Pamplona.

Still, at least one bull had his fifteen minutes of fame in Teruel.

Sometimes Facebook does turn up some gems:

Let's hear it for the culturally victimised bulls
Let’s hear it for the culturally victimised bulls

Full link to newsthump.

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71 comments on “Surreal enough for Dalí?

  1. Here in Australia and in the state of NSW, at least grey-hound racing is being stopped and outlawed. They call it a banning of a sport! Lots of people are up in arms about it and claim it is a livelihood for them. However, the livelihood is the betting of money. It is the same with horses and racing. Take away the gambling part and no one would give horse-racing a second look.
    We all will be lucky to get out of this mess alive. We are stocking up on cabbages and sauerkraut.

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    • Nicely and accurately put Gerard. We are as often, behind you, although there is a protest march later this month in the UK about the thousands of greyhounds killed as a result of this ‘sport’. Shame horse racing isn’t banned too.

      Liked by 1 person

        • I really don’t think animals should be used for entertainment and/or profit. It’s bad enough that most people eat them and don’t care two hoots about that, without giving them a lifetime of abuse and discarding them like an old shoe. Greyhounds – and their Spanish cousins, Galgos – are such gentle creatures. What with our treatment of animals and our sexobjectification of women it’s no wonder intelligent aliens leave Earth alone.

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    • Of course. Not to do anything useful, merely to harass people and exert power. Actually we have taken a few potatoes once. The small ones and the speared ones are left (mentioned in the gleaning article) so we decided to take a few. We weren’t arrested but Spanish small potatoes are rubbish. I can see why they leave them!

      Liked by 2 people

      • A friend here told me that she had had to call the police for assistance…they replied that they could not come as they had no petrol for the car…she said ‘just ask the drug dealers who are peddling to the kids down the road from here to give you money – as always’…

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  2. We live in such a crazy world. Wonder why we can’t stop for a while and let the dude enjoy the ham. Aha! Those stupid cop questions..For sure I know something about it but it can be so frustrating.

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  3. Food mountains and starving people.
    Makes no sense.
    I used to have a client who, once a week, would fill her van with sell-by-date food from Woolworths (SA equivalent to Marks and Sparks out here) and distribute it to homeless people and various charity groups.
    She was obliged not to reveal her ”work” by Woolies.
    She once picked up a load of expensive cheeses etc and we sat and had a gourmet early lunch in the salon.( she explained most people she visited didn’t want this food anyway)
    She also told us that every store chucks out tons and tons of food sometimes simply because it is not the right colour or shape.

    Does my head in.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The wasted food, and the previous butter mountains and milk lakes (had you gone to SA by then?) are just one of the many things that those old people like me with long memories are not impressed with.
      In Spain, one of the local stores would chuck the sell-by stuff in the large rubbish bin outside the store, and the homeless would immediately dive in for it. These are stupid laws where the store has to physically throw food away and poor people, no, people living in poverty, then have to dive in the huge bins for it. And maybe that’s why one of the homeless men we knew (nice enough chap) was found dead in a rubbish bin.
      There is something wrong with supposedly affluent societies/developed countries running such a dual system.
      Why do the biggest economies in Europe have food banks? Germany, UK, France, Netherlands to name but four. Then of course, there is America. There is something rotten, and it ain’t just the food.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Some stretches do seem like this, don’t they? Every turn and every conversation makes you feel like you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole. Wasted food is something so integral to our culture here in the US, it actually takes work to readjust and figure out how not to be a part of the problem. It isn’t “just” adjusting the grocery list, it’s adjusting the mindset.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well America, land of the brave and the free, leader of the western world was also the world leader in establishing food banks.so where America goes, we all follow, a bit like Iraq and Syria and everywhere else. Trouble us, I have yet to be convinced that a) bombing the shit out of people is constructive and b) that food banks should be an essential part of life in so-called rich developed countries.
      According to my cursory research, the UK was thirty years behind America in establishing foodbanks. Bit slow off the mark as usual.
      But yes to the mindset. Not we have poor people, give them the cast-offs no one wants – how to value people – but try and eliminate poverty. Stop wasting food. But that would involve putting people before big business …

      Liked by 1 person

      • People before big business, sounds like something that should be a no-brainer–but of course, now that big businesses are considered people here, no need for change. :( It truly is starting to feel hopeless.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I don’t know whether the issue is lack of education, ie critical thinking, questioning things ie authority/money are always right, or whether it is a more sophisticated insidious way of keeping the people down. Most of the critical reactions I read come from older people. But let’s be honest, in our youth, aren’t most of us too busy trying to get somewhere? Only then can we sit back, look back, and assess what we see and compare it with what we have learned and experienced.

          Liked by 2 people

          • I honestly believe a lack of critical thinking is at the core of many of the problems our collective societies are facing. Here they seem to have stopped teaching it. True, when you’re young, most of us were/are busy trying to figure out the personal, the day to day, and it’s only later–when the years get shorter, that we get the angle necessary to see the big picture. There are exceptions both ways, of course.

            Liked by 2 people

          • I’ll be honest, it took me years to think for myself. I was very indoctrinated into authority is always right, despite doing a history degree and becoming a journalist. Still, late developers and all that … I think it crept up on me without me even realising. I was doing little things, but didn’t put it all together. But yes, later years. Old heads, young shoulders is a classic.

            Liked by 3 people

          • I believe I did think for myself when I was young, a firm believer in “question authority” and all that, but again, the ability to really step back and take the long view most often comes with age and life experience. It’s true for me, anyway. :) I would love that old head/young shoulders combo on my one tired body. ;)

            Liked by 2 people

          • I, on the other hand, believed everything I was told by my elders and betters, because they knew best. So it depends whose old head we would put on the shoulders. Not those of people older than us, it’s putting our own older head on our younger shoulders that would work. The other irony is, older prople telling you they know better because they have been there and done that. Youthful arrogance denies it. Middle age makes us realise we now spout the same rhetoric, and are equally ignored. And now, we recognise the truth of the words spoken to us in our youth.

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  5. Oh indeed,there are always surreal moments out there waiting to pounce on our otherwise normal day. Excellent post roughseas. I love the collection of little vignettes that are all connected – if only through being in your day. Also gives us a peek into your daily life – very very different from ours in details and yet underneath the same.

    To add a personal surreal moment from many years ago when I was a tractor-trailer owner-operator: I had a 45 foot flat bed load of hardwood trim from South America that I had loaded off a ship in Galveston Texas.It was late and I had had a long day, so I pulled into a truck stop in Houston to weigh the load and to have some supper and a sleep.I couldn’t find a parking spot so I went around the truck-stop on a local road and found a spot on the shoulder to park. I pulled in and the shoulder gave way and the truck and trailer rolled slowly and stately over onto the passenger’s side. The load stayed strapped to the deck and the unit was perfectly straight and about a foot off the pavement. I shut down the engine and electrical system, undid my seat/shoulder harness and pushed the driver’s door upwards (they were aluminum doors and quite light) while I scrambled out by standing on the side of the driver’s seat. Once I was up on top of the truck and the door slammed closed, I was standing on a side panel of the sleeper berth – about 8 feet in the air,with all the mechanicals under the truck now vertical, laid out beneath me, and facing the road.

    Of course at that very second of my life – one of the most embarrassing times of all – that would be the moment that a police car with two State Troopers would come idling slowly up the road. You can never find a cop when you want one,but just do something wrong and one appears as if by magic. This particular county that encompasses Houston and surroundings is called Harris county. It is renowned for its violent, wild-west attitude. A very old and famous car chase movie called Sugar-land Express (the name of one of the local areas) was filmed on those very roads. Anyways, there I was standing on the side of my truck 8 feet in the air when the trooper car slowed and stopped beside the truck. The passenger’s side window slowly rolled down revealing a trooper gazing casually at the bottom of my truck. Absolutely certain that I was about to be ticketed for unsafe operating or loss of control or a least illegal parking, I greeted the officer with a cautious “Good evening , sir.” It was very hot -about 105F (40 C) and the officer did not get out of the air conditioned car.

    “Evening son.You OK?”

    “Yes, sir, I’m fine”

    “Well, good, I hope the rest of your evening goes better. Oh, and it would be a good time to grease and service your truck – you are unlikely to be able to see everything this clearly again.” He started to put the window up when I called out to him:

    “Excuse me, do I get a ticket or a report or anything?”

    The officer responded:” Son, it’s not illegal to park your truck on its side in Harris county. In fact you can park it on its roof or any other way you choose.It just has to be 6 inches off the pavement and be parked for no more than 24 hours. Good luck” he finished and rolled his window up as they drove away leaving me standing on the side of my truck..

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Paul, appreciated. I’ve often done posts with seemingly disparate elements yet, to me at least, there is a vague connection. In this case, it’s obviously the surreality of what our society has become and, as you correctly observed, from my perspective of where I live.

      Great story Paul, and totally relevant with the surreality of it. Do hope you got out within 24 hours though? Do you think they would have reacted the same way today? Can’t say I’m a fan of sucking arse to police, but needs must. Especially when we regularly cross the Spanish/Gibraltar frontier.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It is a nice change to see a post like yours roughseas that touches a number of different subjects in short. You know way back when I was married and we had two kids about 8 and 10, one of the kids was going to a birthday party for her friend across the street. I got volunteered to shop for an 8 year old boy as the resident expert on boys. After some research and wracking my brains, I gave up and I assembled a shoe box with about 20 small presents in it – including two big”dough-boy” marbles, a transformer, and various other small items – all wrapped individually and all of interest to a young boy. It was a fun exercise =always keeping an eye out for small, affordable items of interest (some were just interesting ,like a chrome handle). The week after the party I happened to meet the young man’s mother on the street as we were coming and going. She stopped me and was gushing with thanks over the gift I had put together. I was confused and asked if she was sure she had the right gift, as mine was just a shoe box with a few small items. She replied that her son had already abandoned all the expensive toys they had bought and spent his time playing with all the items in the shoe box – in fact he still stored them all in the box, as if they belonged there together. Also, she added that when he opened the gifts he was fascinated that so many gifts were all in the same box – it was immaterial to him that they were small – and he kept asking if I was sure this was all for him. She said that his face lit up more with each little item that he unwrapped. That’s the way I felt when I unwrapped this post roughseas.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you for such a lovely compliment about unwrapping my post. I’m not sure it’s the same as thoughtfully chosen presents for a child, but it’s still a super thought. I was one of those kids at Christmas who liked playing with wrapping paper. Then I thoughtfully went through my presents, one by one, examining them all carefully, or choosing which jigsaw puzzle to start on first. You tell an engaging story Paul.
          But back to blogging. I don’t have time to blog every day, nor do my readers have time, desire or maybe even interest to comment every day. I know I can’t keep up with daily bloggers, so I find it easier to write something that people can read at leisure, and if they choose to, comment when they have time.
          And a range of topics is like pick n mix. People have the choice to comment on police, ageism, food waste, or bullfighting. Each to their own.
          Looking forward to your guest blog post this week :) Please ensure there is a glass of chilled Muscadet, as that is my current drink of choice.

          Liked by 2 people

      • The TX Highway partrol routinely check on truck drivers to make sure they are OK. Between the drug runners, human traffickers, crimminals who steal trucks and loads, and the downright mean or the would be gang members out to do their intitation shootings, truckers are at risk. It’s much worse these days.
        Paul, have you seen all the new rest areas built in the last 10 years or so? (2 on I45 between Houston and Dallas) Free wifi, bathrooms maintained, vending, and lots and lots of well lit parking spots for big rigs. They decided it was much safer to provide public parking in safe areas for trucks – gotta protect those guys and gals.
        Oh, got distracted. Life is totally surreal. Unbelievable these days.
        Food waste. People starving while money is wasted on foolishness. I’d better stop now or it will get much too long.
        Enjoy reading at leisure.

        Liked by 1 person

          • This time of year they always find some poor people packed in the back of an 18 wheeler trying to immigrate under cover – only to face a death trap if the trucker gets spooked, parks, and leaves them on the side of the road. Totally inhumane in 98F temps now. The police and HWY patrols try to keep an eye out – to keep everyone safe and sound.
            (Oh, it’s Sugar Land and that’s Fort Bend County, but it’s practically a western suburb of Houston. The sugar cane fields were in that area for a long time with the Imperial Sugar Company who their factory/processing plant located there. We used to go there on field trips in school. Part of the old plant was donated donated to the city and has been refurbished into a branch of the HoustonNatural Science Museum with cool exhibits in a giant space with room to grow more. So that’s sweet.

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          • Immigration? Check out the attempts to get into the UK from France. Def surreal for sure. Don’t forget the frontier refugee camps.

            Sugar cane. Lots in my part of Spain. A post to come on EU subsidising British sugar company Tate and Lyle though. Meant to be a slight historical tart-up locally of a sugar plant. Sweet indeed.

            Liked by 1 person

  6. Good morning roughseas (I don’t know what time of day is there, but here’s it’s a bright, sunny one!) I’m back ‘below the equator’ these days and have very little time to read, let alone comment. BUT, still wanted to comment on the restful deck of yours – lovely, lush surroundings! Many other insightful commenters have discussed the topic, however. Paul, I can picture your trucking dilemma to a ‘t’.

    I find myself shaking my head at the same things you do, roughseas – does one just become more cynical, the older one gets? Methinks so. Hope you got to enjoy a nice glass of Muscadet on that lovely deck of yours. (With partner!)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Good morning (it is now, it wasn’t then) or in your case, good evening Carmen. How goes cool damp Australia? I heard snow was forecast somewhere and not just on Kosciosko or in the Snowies.
      Ah the terrace. Thank you. It’s not very Spanish in floral/plant style, but it suits me. The plumbago annoys Partner so we always argue about it. I had to chop part of it back because we couldn’t get out of the side gate!
      I enjoyed Paul’s truck story. Just hope he got it recovered before they came back.
      Muscadet is for Gib. None where I live in Spain, so I slum it with cheap supermarket cartons at €1.20 a litre. Partner drinks beer. Aussie wine used to be really cheap when I was there and shortly after I left they must have whacked huge taxes on it as the prices really shot up. At the hostel I was staying in most of us had a five litre wine box in the room. Oh, the hedonistic days of young travel without responsibilities :)

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Bloody hell! Is it diy city? Can’t really comment on the other, but ‘cold-blooded killing’? It’s occupational hazard! You cannot blame an innocent creature who is only defending himself! Matador goes in to torment and kill bull… Sometimes, bull out-smarts them… Kudos for the bull. Moving on! 😁

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