I think if my life were a movie right now it would be an indie movie. Maybe that’s a bit presumptuous, or a bit telling—marking me as some arrogant hipster—but, really, it’s a question of genre. My life here most closely resembles what my dad would call a “slice of life” movie, without any dramatic plot twists or interesting character arcs. Where not a whole lot happens.
Make no mistake, I am hustling and bustling all over these mean Spanish streets. There’s plenty of go go go, plenty of action and conflict, but I know that it’s not what people imagine it to be. It can’t live up to the action-adventure/rom-com/coming-of-age tale that others have hinted at or hoped for.
If I could offer up a single image, it would be this: Me, standing in the supermercado, holding a tin of olives and staring half-heartedly at a wall of equally esoteric olive tins. Now repeat that—change the store (now it’s El Corte Inglés, now the Ahorra Más, now SuperSol), change the product (tuna fish, pasta sauce, lotion), but don’t change my facial expression, my constant state of being: confused, irritated, and exhausted.
Or maybe I’m stepping off yet another bus, or climbing out of the Metro, to realize once again that I have no idea how to get where I’m going or what to do when I get there. The world spins on around me, so many short and pushy Spaniards going about their daily lives, and I stand there, a beacon of aimlessness, letting it all swirl past.
Then I take a deep breath and dive in. I just keep going.