Here comes summer, then, crashing in as usual, like a local middle-aged drunk at the annual student party - totally expected but really annoying anyway. The temperate beauty and modesty of spring is simply barged out of the way by an unforgiving heat and a coarse brashness that leaves us all suddenly gasping for air amid flotillas of flies and an infinite ocean of dodgy tattoos.
In the same way that some scientists study the ebb and flow of nature to orientate themselves with regard to the changing seasons, I like to keep a steady eye on what we might call ‘the flip-flop factor’. As soon as the first couple of pairs have been seen - or, often, simply heard - parading down Calle Larios, you know that it’s game over and that you’ll spend the next three months in a film of constant sweat, unable to get anything done because everybody seems to be on some kind of mutually agreed perma-holiday, even if some of these people are, on occasion, physically present. From about the middle of June, the popular local refrain of “Ok, good idea - let’s talk about it after the Feria” begins to fill the air. Never mind that what you’re proposing is extraordinarily urgent and the Feria is ten weeks away, the die has now been cast and no new projects will be considered until the last of the biznagas has lost its one remaining petal.
For the first four or five years that I lived over here, I’d try to fight this phenomenon, mistakenly thinking that I’d be able to get much more done while others were distracted by brightly-coloured bikinis and beach balls. Not on your life; it was like running through treacle - exhausting and, ultimately, totally ineffectual. No, the best thing you can do is simply accept the fact that there are three months of the year during which everything grinds slowly to a halt and the wisest plan is to conserve your energy for “after the Feria” when a kind of frenetic anxiety falls upon proceedings as thousands of people realise simultaneously that they’ve just spent twenty five per cent of the calendar year in a chiringuito.
Summer does, of course, have its merits but it’s just that I don’t like any of them - roof terraces (expensive), all other terraces (beggars), swimming pools (fat children ‘bombing’), the beach (don’t get me started), and.. er, well.. that’s about it, really.
Roll on October, then - apparently that’s the name of a month that occurs in these parts sometime “after the Feria”.