Lo Siento Seems To Be The Hardest Word

Posted: September 1, 2015 in One More For Love


I sigh. Air conditioning. I have landed in Alicante and immediately begun to wither in it’s 35 degree heat. Except for now. Here. At the informacion desk. The air conditioned informacion desk. Where we will find informacion. And air conditioning. I am cool.

I am losing my cool.

Beauty has asked for directions to our hotel, and had a blasé European man shrug his shoulders at her. He has no idea where the hotel is, even with the address written down! We’ve lost our cool, and are no longer interested in his. We leave.

“He was so rude!” exclaims Beauty as we arrive at our hotel. She has never watched The Phantom Menace, so I don’t bother. I sigh. Wives. We step into reception, and air conditioning strokes my skin seductively once more. I give it another chance. After all, I am cool. We queue. and I smile. “Maybe he was just thick?” I suggest, as we slide over to the desk to meet a French boy who begins to serve us.

A Spanish couple approach.

And usurp the little Marcel Desailly’s attention! He wavers, before deciding to sheepishly serve the loudest! The most pushing-in-est customer!

I lose my cool. But then pause, mid-temperature. It’s ok, even I sometimes do this. It’s ok to skip the queue, if…. and only if, you just need to ask a quick, one-second question. He must just be doing that. He must just be asking a quick, one-second question.

I quickly wait one second.

Oh no! He’s checking in! How rude!

“Nope. That informacion guy wasn’t a thicko. He was just European. A rude, rude European. Like these clowns. Rude, orange-skinned clowns.”

My wife smiles, and checks in for us because I’m too furious.

It is tomorrow night, and we are having a late dinner after a packed holidayday. By which I mean we are having a very early dinner in the largest nursery in Europe.

I sigh. Europeans.

It is 22:30 and we are surrounded by children. Hordes of children. Divided into family-based legions, all garrisoned at little tables being served oddly prepared potatoes. Families are out having dinner! At this time! Forcing their overly-tired kids to slide down restaurant-adjacent play areas or sit screaming in pushchairs annoying all the dressed up guys and dolls out for a sunset seafood soirée.

Unbelievable! So rude! Imagine forcing an eight year old to eat a whole pizza at a posh restaurant at midnight! Because the burger king queue is out the door! So rude. Hang on… is that…. one, single bloke serving at Burger King?!?! Such bad customer service!

I turn back to face my table as a waiter lays a swordfish before me, accompanied by the carcinogenous breeze of three socially immoral Smokey Robinsons encamped around me. I know we’re outdoors, but, still! Smoking? In a crowd?! Forcing one and all to breathe the airborne essence of your purchaseable death sticks! So rude!

Flipping Europeans.

Beauty bites into her dinner and immediately starts to wince. I thought so. She’s ordered it a bit too spicy. I sigh. Wives. Ears bigger than their stomachs! But Beauty’ll fight through it. Her determination’s even bigger than her ears.

Humm. She’s struggling a little. I feel bad, so do what I always do in these situations.

I get milk.

I try to get milk.

“Sorry, no milk.”

Oh. Hang on, really? Next you’ll be saying there’s no free teabags in the hotel. Oh no wait, there wasn’t. As if.

“You ordered it this hot!”

Erm… the waiter is still standing there. And is still talking about this. And appears to be blaming us for our milky needs. He must hate babies. I’m uncomfortable. So I assume my wife is even more so. I decide not to carry this on.

“Ye… yes we did.” I say, waving a little hand gesture that concedes ‘you’re right. We are spice-challenged fools with pathetically not-orange skin.’

He doesn’t walk away!

“Look! You were supposed to dip some sauce in some rice! Like this!”

Won’t Leave is actually standing, pretending to eat imaginary rice! He’s a decent actor. That is how people eat rice. Unless they actually have some rice. Beauty doesn’t look happy. Probably because Won’t Leave is standing slightly too close to her meal, showing her how she should be eating it! He’s blamed Beauty for her high-voltage oral mucosa and is now telling her off for eating wrongly!

Oi! We know how to eat! You rude, rude, rude-ropean!

We finally escape the conversation and escape the restaurant to escape Mr Thinks He Can Be As Patronising As A University Lecturer and hunt down a taxi, our only homewardness option since rude European buses go to bed before babies and Big Boots. A Spaniard opens his door and knows enough informacion to drive us home amid the now-classic, increasingly chaotic cacophany of misused car horns announcing their annoyance at meeting anyone else on the road. Taximan bombs it down the coast like he’s playing real-life F-Zero X, not indicating as he dramatically changes lanes. No patience! Or driving politeness! We survive the death race and are welcomed-back to our hotel, where we wait. For tomorrow.

It is tomorrow. And we’ve taken seats on a small passenger speedboat for a trip to snorkel at the Isle de Tabarca. It’s 11 miles away! Which is sweet on a speedboat – or a ‘sweetboat’ – no, that’s girly. A speedboat. Just a speedboat. For men.

“You know what, Dan?” says Beauty, who looks like she knows what. “You’re going on about all these rude Europeans. You’re British! And German! And you’re always saying you’re a billionth Italian….”


“Yeah, whatever! That means you’re European!”

“Pah! Ein bischen! Poco!”

Beauty smiles, as the skipper sets the extremely manly speedboat into motion. We zoom, and the sun hits us all in the face.

Except for me.

Because something else is hitting me in the face. The girl in front’s long European hair is whipping me back and forth in my long British face! Again and again! As Skipper goes up another gear! I am G-forced back into my seat as Beauty laughs. She doesn’t know the Spanish for ‘Your hair is molesting my husband’s face’ so she just sits back and has joy, fun and seasons in the sun.

I grin. And bear this. I am British! I can endure! Queues! Conservative leadership! I can survive the hard times! I can do this! I can not say anything! I can not complain. I can…

Lose my cool. Completely.

I raise my hand in front of my face. My own little five-fingered Captain America defending me against some hair. I decide to later on suggest this to Marvel for Phase 4. The Avengers versus T-hand-nos. The In-finger-nity Wars?

Phew. That’s better. I breathe. I regain my cool. I… have my hand in a stranger’s hair! And I can’t explain why! Her fella has noticed. As have the folk behind me, who are laughing into the back of my head. It’s an attack on all sides!

The girl works it out and quickly puts her hair up into a bun. I say the word ‘mucho’ a few too many times before gracias and turn to Beauty with a relaxed smile.

“It’s good to be European.”


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