Unemployment. Coronavirus. Stock markets. Winter. Crumbling mortar. Stupid TV shows. Dust. Death.
So this happened more than two weeks ago, before we knew how bad things were. Back when we were on our vacation in Spain and we were insulated and happy and somewhat remote from the drama of unemployment. I knew I had interviews waiting for me when I got home so I had some hope.
Now I have none.
I have had the interviews and now nothing is happening and I don’t know if anything will ever happen again. There might be a recession and all the companies might decide to freeze hiring and the stock market might crash, which would mean not only would we both be unemployed but our net worth would plummet and we would have to eat the cats.
We would never eat the cats.
But there would be belt tightening.
Only we already live really frugal lives. We don’t have cable. One car is 19 years old. The other is three years old, so I guess that’s newish and we could sell it. We have no debt. We don’t have cable. We rarely eat out. We do travel, but that’s on frequent flyer miles and of course that would stop. I don’t buy books – I get them at the library.
We eat. We turn on the lights. We feed our cats. That’s about it. My plan is for my jeans to last me until I die. It’s the stupid health insurance that costs so much money. Other than that, I don’t know where we could save.
We’re just screwed.
So I am going to think only happy thoughts for right now because what else can I do?
Back to las abuelitas.
We were at the Mercat Central in Valencia.
We were eating our desayuno mercado for 2 euros: un cafe con leche and a pastry.
I noticed the woman next to me had gotten her pasty a la plancha, which is grilled.
That looks really good! I said to her.
Would you like to try some? she asked.
I am shameless, so I said sure and took a piece.
It was delicious.
She urged me to take more, but I am not that shameless.
But the floodgates were opened and now she and her two friends wanted to talk to Mr T and me. Who were we? Why were we there? What were we doing?
Because of Mr T’s Spanish classes this winter, he was able to participate in the conversation and even tell his joke:
?Que hace el pez?
(What does the fish do?
Nada, which means both “nothing” and “swims.”
This is especially funny in Spanish because puns are rare in Spanish.)
Which of course they loved.
They approved of our itinerary – a visit to the Albufera, the wetlands at the Valencia coast, and a trip to Teruel, a village in the mountains.
In each case, Abuelita Numero Tres nodded approvingly and said, “!Es muy bonito!”
They thought Mr T was very handsome (which he is).
Abuelita Numero Una’s husband had been in the navy and had been to Puerto Rico and New York, but she is a widow now.
Abuelita Numero Dos has three children.
Abuelita Numero Tres has no teeth.
They were lovely and warm and wanted to know all about us and I, who am the nosiest person in the world, which means I have to really hold back in interviews because I want to ask way too many personal questions, wanted to know all about them.
It was the best 20 minutes ever and Mr T and I want to go back there every morning and have breakfast with our Abuelita Peeps.