Xenophobe's® Guides: How to act Spanish
How can you act upon the old dictum 'When in Spain do as the Spanish do', when no-one knows what they are doing next? Here's a humourous guide to Spanish character.
Xenophobe's® Guides: A book series that highlights the unique character and behaviour of different nations with insight and humour.
Anyone attempting to understand the Spanish must first of all recognise the fact that they do not consider anything important except total enjoyment. If it is not enjoyable it will be ignored.
Capable of finding boundless energy to satisfy their need for enjoying life, their enormous capacity for having fun results in any unexpected form of entertainment taking precedence over everything else. This means that they change their minds continually. Planning does not play any part in their lives. All that is predictable about the Spanish is their unpredictability.
Therefore, when visiting the country you cannot act upon the old dictum ‘When in Spain do as the Spanish do', because no-one knows what they will be doing next.
The Spanish are not envious, ambitious, or easily impressed, and to any personal question they will probably only shrug their shoulders by way of suggesting that the answer is not important.
Time, of course, is fundamentally immaterial to the Spanish because it suggests a limit to freedom, and a limit to freedom suggests a curb on enjoyment. To avoid being too specific about time, the minutes are generally ignored in favour of the nearest quarter hour. There is even a special term (madrugada), which can mean any of the small hours before dawn.
The vital word to remember is mañana (usually accompanied by a shrug of the shoulders). This means ‘tomorrow', or ‘some time tomorrow' or ‘the day after tomorrow', or ‘next week', ‘the week after next', ‘next month', ‘maybe next month', ‘next year', ‘possibly next year', ‘later', or ‘never ever'.
Want to learn more? Read part one in the series: 'Typically Spanish – who are they?'
For more, check out The Xenophobe's Guide to the Spanish.
Reproduced from Xenophobe's Guide to the Spanish by kind permission of Xenophobe's® Guides.
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