Last time in San Sebastian…
I am here in San Sebastian looking to teach English. The importance of language is especially powerful for me in this particular city.
I was here last year, staying in a fairly dull hostel by Zurriola Beach, which is (apparently) known as one of the best surf spots in Spain. My hostel mates were the shyest Australian ever, a handful of the loudest Canadians ever, and a pair of very nice young Spanish lads. (All of which is remarkable because it is rare to find people from the home country in its hostels, Canadians are generally not the most boisterous nationality, and a shy Australian? If I hadn’t seen it I wouldn’t believe it.)
The Spanish lads cooked us all an authentic Spanish dinner one night of tortilla (not remotely what a tortilla is in Latin America) and paella. Halfway through the meal they disappeared for a minute and came back…in full drag. Short cocktail dresses, fluorescent wigs, high heels, and make-up. They filmed the rest of the meal for their portfolio of drag performances, which are on several websites, although I foolishly did not write any of them down.
But that’s not what I was telling you about. We were talking about language.
San Sebastian has a bike/pedestrian/running path that stretches just above the couple miles of San Sebastian’s beaches. The wee hamlet I grew up in has a path that is sort of like this one’s super-sized and wilder cousin, and I spent a fair percentage of my youth running cross country on it. Of course, I hadn’t been a runner in 10 years, but hell, it was a beautiful path so I dusted off the notion of running, strapped on my semi-appropriate shoes and went for it.
A disappointing but refreshing hour later I plodded back to the hostel and stopped off in the kitchen to get a drink of water before heading to the showers. The Friendly Spaniards were in there, and asked what I had been up to that morning. I told them, in Spanish, that I had run for the first time in ten years.
They heard this, looked down, smiled, paused, looked back up, and then taught me a lesson in the importance of knowing language. You see, apparently the verb for “to run” in slang Spanish also describes having an orgasm.
So there I was in the kitchen that morning, face flushed and sweaty, hair in wild disarray, and a proud grin on my face, telling them that I had just had my first orgasm in ten years.
I wonder if that is an appropriate story for the first day of class?