I don’t know if it’s just me and the people I attract, but I have not used the ”time-out” hand gesture in my life, as much as I have used it in Spain.
Spaniards talk. And talk. And talk. And talk. And talk. And talk. And talk. And talk. And talk.
So you cannot wait until they stop to change subject so that you can interject because you need to say that ‘I have left the keys on the television’, because they won’t stop, and you will be standing around till the cows come home.
OK, perhaps to be fair, I should extend the borders of the set here to all Spanish speaking people, rather than restrict to to only Spaniards. They all talk. And talk. And talk.
I used to think I was a talkative pain-in-the-ass; but here, I suffer a serious complex.
It has done great to my foreign language listening skills though – so I’m really not complaining.
They talk loud, over each other, and don’t stop. At all. Perhaps that’s why they have to talk over each other, because there is really no way of getting a word in edgeways otherwise.
Be it 8am while making coffee at home when I haven’t even got both my eyes open, or be it 5am in the morning when we are coming home from a long night out where we have really done nothing much but talk, there is still something someone has to elaborate on.
Other than the neverending list of topics such as: life, family, men, beer, annoying people, work, the weather, hair salons, holiday plans for next year, uncles, food, rabbits, fetishes, the tourists, the English language, the Pope, MySpace, yoga, Zapatero, ETA, Greenpeace, tortilla de patatas and David Bisbal; most of the conversations revolve around who-did-what-how-where-when-why, which will be followed by a
what-he-should-have-done-instead-how-where-when and why.
Let’s not even start about when they get on the phone. Minimum 15 minutes. Even if it’s someone they’ve just spent the day with.
The good thing is that I have learnt to tune out. I can look like I am listening and taking every word in, but really I am thinking about what I’m going to teach in my next English class or what I am going to wear for my date next week. I’m really proud of this skill I have acquired.
It’s a cultural thing, I think. Comes as part of the social-openess and extrovertness of hispanics. I think that’s what it is. I am glad I have learnt to tune out though.
Hay un dicho que se atribuye a alguna religión oriental que dice algo así: “si no tienes nada mejor que decir, no rompas el silencio”. Vale, los españoles lo conocen. De oídas, por supuesto. Pero prefieren otro: ¡silencio, qué miedo, evítalo a toda costa!