Time in Talavera de la Reina, 1980

A favourite expression in Spain in the early 1980's is 'manana', tomorrow. Want to go to the movies? Sure, how about 'manana'. You call the plumber and he tells you that he'll come by, 'manana'. Or worse, he might say, 'pasado manana', the day after tomorrow! Why aren't you working? Oh, I will, 'manana'. When will I see you?  'Manana'.

Time has different meanings here in Talavera de la Reina in 1980. Things don't begin on time, things don't end on time. Things somehow just happen, and continue to happen for as long as people want. Let's go to the Prado manana. Okay. What time?  En la tarde. In the afternoon. Yes, but at what time?  That's when you get the shrugging of the shoulders and the hand waving deftly in the air. What a silly question to be asking. What time?!

Everyone hangs out at the Prado in Talavera de la Reina. There's a nice duck pond and lots of benches with old men sitting on them. They just sit. That's all they do. Sit and talk. There are also young mothers with small babies. They just sit as well. They all just sit. They all just sit and talk for hours and hours and hours. Business men from the banks and offices stroll by and just sit. In between puffing on their cigarettes they talk loudly and wave their arms about. In the end, however, they too just sit.

I try to do the same. Just sit. I sit down on a bench in the Prado and watch the ducks, watch the people. After twenty minutes I'm feeling guilty about doing nothing. I keep looking at my watch. I wonder how banks and offices function when the people behind the desks are all sitting here in the Prado.

Time becomes blurred in the morning sun. There is no specific time to do anything. The only thing that matters is being able to do nothing any time you want.




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