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olivia on tomorrow – month four

May 4, 2010


I recently posted a blog about time measurements in Spain. It’s a very short piece, but since you’re already here, I’ll summarize: the Spanish like to take their time. It’s known as the “mañana” attitude. The word means “tomorrow” or “morning,” but in this sense, it roughly translates to “later” or, more accurately, “whenever.”

This isn’t a criticism. I’ve been trying to have a “when in Rome” approach to things so far. If I’ve made such a firm note of mañana, it’s probably because I’m such an impatient, deadline-driven person to begin with. Everything in Spain is designed to challenge your notion of how long things should take. For example, very few things get done before siesta, which is really more like a great big lunchtime, but lasts a couple of hours in the middle of the afternoon (usually 2 to 4pm). The European Union has been trying to get Spain to adopt regular business hours (the 9-to-5 variety), but it hasn’t picked up. The Spanish are too mañana about it.

Then there’s the day-to-day stuff, like how long it takes for a bus to get here, and how long it takes to get me back home. There’s the “maybe the grocer will be open on Sunday vs. maybe he won’t” charade. And despite the relative unavailability of many businesses during the day, a surprising lot is open at night.

So here’s the thing: I’m obviously outranked. If the British folks who have colonized Torrevieja haven’t been able to change the post office’s hours, no one can. Those bus drivers are on Spanish time. And to the EU’s chagrin, siesta ain’t going anywhere. I could have a tantrum about it, but that’ll only be properly dealt with mañana, and I’m not sure it’s that important.

And there’s the rub, isn’t it? If it’s really important, it’ll take however long it takes. I’ll wait. We’d all wait. Why wouldn’t we? It’s important.

If it’s not, it doesn’t really matter how long it takes.

It’s infuriating at times, sure. But today, at the gym, which is perched on the 4th floor of a building overlooking Playa Flamenca, it hit me that I wasn’t really in a rush to finish the routine. I mean, what else have I got to do? One of the things that used to get in the way of working out was finding the time to do it. Now that’s all I have. I know I said I wanted to get into a routine last month, and I still do. But I’ve made a few alterations. The content is more or less same, but the engine isn’t. Because the fact is, when I get back to Canada, there won’t be siesta anymore. Actually, as I recall, everything back home had to be dealt with yesterday.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 28, 2010 5:35 pm

    This was such a great entry. Love the style of writing and language and thought progression.

  2. livvyjams permalink
    May 29, 2010 3:26 am

    Thanks you, Sarah! 🙂

  3. livvyjams permalink
    May 29, 2010 3:29 am


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