Advancement of 'Grand Union', from Zadie Smith: drunkenness, karaoke and all inclusive in Almería

Grand Union, new book by Zadie Smith stories, goes on sale on January 13 (Salamandra). We are submerged, all. You, me, children, our friends, their childre

Advancement of 'Grand Union', from Zadie Smith: drunkenness, karaoke and all inclusive in Almería

Grand Union, new book by Zadie Smith stories, goes on sale on January 13 (Salamandra).

We are submerged, all. You, me, children, our friends, their children, all others. Sometimes we go out of the water: for lunch, to read or tan, never for a long time. Then we all go back into the metaphor. The Vagus River is circular, it is liquid, has an artificial stream. Even if you do not move you will come somewhere and then you will return to the starting point; And if we talk about the depth of the metaphor, well, then he has almost a deep meter, except a short stretch where he reaches the two meters. There the children shout grabbing to the nearest walls or adult until they return to stand. We turn around and turns. All life is flowing here. Flowing!

The reactions vary. Most we advance in the direction of the current swimming a bit or walking or moving their feet in the water. A few use some type of float (rubber rings, tubes, plates) and these devices are placed strategically under the arms or neck or the rear creating push towards the surface and thus making it even easier what it barely requires effort . Life is fight! But we are on vacation, both of life and the fight. We get carried away". And having entered the Vagus River we must have a device to float, although, if we stopped to think about it, let us know that the artificial current already keeps us buoyant. In spite of that, we want it. Propaganda floats, huge floats, floats in comic shapes. They are a novelty, a luxury: they entertain. We will carry out many revolutions before they lose their charm and for a few fortunate few will never lose it. For the rest of us there comes a time when we end up seeing that the lifeguard was right: those gadgets are too big; They are complicated to handle, tire. The fact is that everyone will drag us the Vagus River, at the same speed, under the same implacable sun from Spain, without truce, until the end.

There are those who carry this principle of universal fluid to their ultimate consequences. They make the dead (face down, the inert extremities, without the slightest effort) and in this way they discover that even a corpse spins. A few (less tattooed, often with university studies) are insisted on going in the other direction, determined to give strokes against the current, without ever progressing, keeping it in its place, even for a moment, while the others pass by Floating. It is a pose: it can not last long. I heard a man with a modern haircut say that he could overcome the river to end. I heard the sophisticated woman of him challenge him to show him. Without children, they had time for those games. But as soon as he turned around and tried to swim, the water dragged him in the blink of an eye.

The Vagus River is a metaphor and at the same time an artificial water course within an all-inclusive hotel. It is in Almeria, in a southern corner of Spain. We only left there to buy floats. The plan is to defeat the hotel in its own game. It is done this: you drink so much alcohol than the accommodation, indeed, leaves for free. (Only the most vulgar between us, we express this plan out loud, but we are all in the garlic.) Because at this hotel we are all British, we go en masse, do not be embarrassed. We enjoyed the mutual company. There is no French or German here to see us at the buffet by rejecting the paella and the swordfish in favor of sausages with fries, there is no one to judge us when we tend on the loungers away from the concept of literature to get closer to the reality of Sudoku. One of our tribe, an older man, has a portrait of Amy Winehouse in every pimple and we do not judge him, much less, how we would dare to do it? We do not have many saints of Amy's caliber; She veneered her. She was one of the few people who expressed our pain without ridiculing him or believing him. That's why it's logical that at night, during the brief time we left the River Vagus, at the time of karaoke, already drunk, let's cry out in screaming his famous happy ballads that later, much later, when all this ends , those verses that we love will be sang in our funerals.

But the karaoke was last night; Tonight there is magic. The magician takes rabbits from sites, unexpected sites. We are going to sleep and dreamed of rabbits, we woke up, we go back into the Vagus River. Have you heard about the cycle of life? This is so. We turn around and more turns. No, we have not visited the Moriscas ruins. Neither will we go through those naked, arid mountains. Not a soul between us has read that recent novel set here, in Almeria, and no one intends to read it. Nobody will judge us. The Vagus River is an area free of judgments. That does not mean, however, that we are blind. Because we also saw the polyethylene tunnels (from the coach, coming from the airport) and we saw the Africans who work there, alone or in couples, going by bicycle under a sun inclement, pedaling among the greenhouses. I rested the head in the trembling glass of the window to observe them and, as in the fable of the burning bush, instead of Africans I saw a mirage. The vision was a basket of cherry tomatoes wrapped in plastic floating just on the other side of my window, in the semi-cessiert, between the Moriscas ruins. So familiar that I found real as my own hand. And in the Cestita I saw a bar code and just above that code was read the product of Spain - Almería. The vision vanished. It was not worth anything at that time, during our vacation, neither me nor anyone. Because who are we for ... And who is you for ... And who are they to ask us for explanations ... and whoever is to throw the first ...

It is still true that we, being British, could not point out the Vagus River on a map of Spain, although it is also true that we do not miss because we only left the water to buy floats as I have already mentioned above. Truth, also, that most of us vote in favor of Brexit and we do not know if we are going to need a visa mess to get into the Vagus River on the coming summer. Of that we will worry about the summer next. Among us there are a few souls of London with university studies and love for metaphors, follow in Europe and swim against countercurrent. When they are not on the Vagus River, the members of that eminent minority warn their children who do not eat the inexhaustible chips and use the solar cream with the highest protection index. Even in the water they like to maintain certain distinctions. Do not dance La Macarena. They do not go to Zumba class. Some say they are ash, others who fear humilly, but, to be fair, it is difficult to dance in the water. In any case, after eating (the healthiest) or to buy a float (never propaganda) will go back into the metaphor with others, will return to this aqueous urrochore that, unlike the Heráclito River, is always the same No matter where the foot goals.

Yesterday the Vagus River was green. Nobody knows why. Theories abound and the urine intervenes in all. O The color comes from the urine or is the color of the product that they put to disguise the urine or is the reaction of the urine to chlorine or other unknown chemical agent. I have no doubt that the urine is involved, I myself have pissed inside. But it is not the urine that worries us, no: the pitiful consequence of that greenery is that in an unpleasant way it focuses on the fundamental artificiality of the Vagus River. Suddenly, something that looked like the most natural (float slowly in an endless circle, listening to the summer song, whose title is neither more nor less than slowly) is not only unnatural, but of the weirdest. Not so much a vacation to rest from life as a kind of terrible metaphor of life itself. That sensation is not limited to the few fanatics of the metaphor that is present there. We all share it. If he had to compare it with something, it would be the shame that Adam and Eve were looking at himself and realizing for the first time that, in the eyes of others, they were naked.

What is the solution for life? How can it be "well lived"? In front of our loungers there are two girls of lush breasts, sisters. They arrive very early every morning and, instead of the current plastic loungers we use others, they manage to score one of the coveted white-white beds that look towards the sea. Those sisters are eighteen and nineteen years. Your outdoor bed has white gauze curtains on all four sieves to sift the sun, but the sisters discourage the curtains thus creating a scenario and lie in search of the perfect tan, often rising the bikini strip to check progress, The fine line that separates the brunette belly from the pale crotch. They contemplate their bare venus mountains impassive before lying down again in the divan. If I mention it, it is because in the context of the Vagus River they are unusually active. They spend more time than anyone on the mainland, especially taking pictures to each other with their phones. For the Sisters, that issue of photographs is a kind of work that fills every day to the limit, just as the Vagus River fills ours. It is a chronicle of life that occupies as much as one's life. "We bathe and we do not bathe in the same rivers and we are both we are not." That said Heraclitus and that the sisters say, moving inside and out of plane, catching the fluidity of things, framing for a moment: so they are and are not. I personally move my eagerness. Nobody pays them for their work, but that does not dissuade them. Which professional assistants in an authentic photography session, first prepare the area cleaning it, tending it, commenting on the angle of light and, if necessary, they even displace the bed to remove from the photo any ugliness: garbage shot, withered leaves, withered people . Preparing the scene requires your time. As your phones are so much depth of field, you have to remove even the wrapper of a caramel located at several meters away. Then place the daze: petals of pink flowers, extravagant cocktails with photogenic umbrellas peeking from the glasses, ice cream (which are photographed, but do not eat) and on one occasion a book, which only served as adornment for the photo and, although maybe I was the only one who noticed that detail, the reverse. During the preparations, both carry a few black sunglasses. When one of the girls is ready to pose, she gives her glasses to her sister. It would be easy to say that they manage to convert youth into a hard work, but has not always been even if the difficulties came by different means? At least they are building a project from their lives, a measurable project that may like and comment. What do we do? Float up?

A three-minute walk from the hotel's back door there is a walk-in walk where gentle amusements are offered at the event that we need some activity during the few hours of penumbra in which they are occupied by maintenance, cleaning and the Sterilization of the Vagus River. One of those amusements, of course, is the sea. However, once you have bathed in the Vagus River, always as comfortable and practical, with its chlorine disinfectant, with its rapid and even manageable currents, it costs horrors to accept the sea, with salt, marine life and those islite of twisted plastic. Not to mention the depths devastated by overfishing, the increasingly higher temperature and the infinite horizons, death reminders. We spent long. We walked down the seafront, we left behind the two women who make braids and follow a few minutes until we reach the elastic beds. That is the longest distance we have traveled since they started our vacation. We do it "by children." And now we put the harness to our children and see how they bounce and bounce over the metaphor, up and down, up and down, while we sat in a fence in front of them and facing the sea swinging my legs, taking some vodka combinations That we brought from the hotel and wondering if, in the end, the elastic beds are not a metaphor better than the vague rivers. Life is, of course, a succession of ups and downs, although children always seem to go down by surprise (and almost joyfully because they are crashing, almost impossible to believe), while for us, sitting on the tapia with the glass in my hand , being up is what has ended something absurd, unlikely; We find a malicious and a little disconcerting distraction, rare than a blood moon. By the way, that night there was a blood moon. You do not look at me: Southern Spain has the highest ratio of metaphor by reality that anywhere I have known. There everything is in everything else. And we were contemplating the blood moon (that Aciaga moon of the year 2017) and each one of us, men and women, understood at that moment that in a year so there is no vacation that are worth. It was spectacular anyway. He bathed our jumping children with his reddish glow and set fire to the sea.

Then time was running out. The children were raging because they still do not understand that time runs out; They kicked and scratched us as we unbuckled the harnesses. But we do not plead, we do not give up; No, we embrace them and accept their rage admitting it in our organisms, all, as we accept their stupid tantrums as the substitutes of true indignation, that of course they still do not know why we have not told you anything, because we are on vacation: Come to a hotel with a Vago River. Actually, it's never a good time. One day they will open a newspaper or a web page and will read by themselves which year (2050 approximately according to the prophets) in which time will be exhausted. A year that will not be greater than we are now. Not everything goes around and turns. There are things that go up and ...

Back to the hotel we stand to greet women who braid the hair, one from Senegal and the other of the Gambia. With a red film moon we scolded the coast of its continent on the other side of the sea, although they did not cross here because the waters of this area are even more treacherous than those who separate Libya from Lampedusa, the route where they came. Simply look at them to warn that both women are one of which they could swim across the Vago River to countercurrent and turn around. Is not that what they have done? One is called Mariatou, the other Cynthia. For ten euros they make you braids of root or senegal or Dutch in Corona. In our group there are three who want to become a hairstyle; The two women get down to work. Men are in greenhouses. The tomatoes are in the supermarket. The moon is in the sky. The British leave Europe. We are "getaway." We still believe on the getaways.

- It's hard in Spain - says Mariatou in response to our questions -. Very hard.

-Live good? - Add Cynthia pulling our daughter's hair and making chille -. Not easy.

When we arrived at the hotel gate everything is dark. A pair of twins, rich and Rocco (twenty-righteous, with lustrous black curls, tight white jeans and identical iPhones embedded in the pockets), just finished their performance and are picking up the loudspeaker.

- We are finalists in Factor X Spain - they say in response to our questions -. We are Tunisians by birth, but now we are Spanish.

We wish you luck and good night and we move away from our sons of the obscene bulk of those iPhones, whose existence we have decided not to reveal them up to many years or at least until they have twelve. In the elevators we separated from our friends and their children and went up to our room, which is equal to their rooms and the rooms of all

The others, we meet the children in bed and sit on the balcony with laptops and mobile phones, where we look at their twitter, as we have done every night since January. Here and there, on other balconies, we distinguish other men and women in their sunbeds with other devices, but engaged in a similar behavior. Below runs the Vagus River, which is neon blue, a demented blue, a blue Facebook. Inside there is a man dressed from head to head and armed with a long mop; Another man holds him in equilibrium by grabbing him by the waist so that he can tilt the mop and stand against the current, strong although soporiferous, to clean the trail that we left.

Updated Date: 11 January 2022, 23:42

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