The State of Alarm ended in Spain at 0:00 Sunday morning, and five seconds later summer arrived with a bang and the temperature climbed at least 20 degrees (F, not C). After weeks of unseasonably balmy temperatures, the predicted high tomorrow will be 98°.
In fact, except for the fact that everybody’s wearing masks and there’s hand sanitizer on the cafe tables, it feels pretty much like Summer, Last Year’s Version. The abuelas and abuelos are back at the sidewalk tables. Last night when we went out for gelato, we passed about ten of them sitting over drinks and algo para picar. Their concession to the New Normality lay in the fact that every single one of them was wearing a face shield. Today while I was out running errands, it felt like all the middle-aged daughters of Madrid were visiting their elderly mothers. One was ahead of me at the pharmacy, picking up her mother’s prescriptions (She’ll go to the hair salon but she says she’s scared to go to the pharmacy, the woman told the pharmacist). Another pair sat on a bench watching the street life go by. Another sat at the sidewalk cafe: abuela with a glass of white wine beaded with condensation in front of her.
The girls and I arrived in Spain on July 2 last year. COVID has taken such a bite out of things that it really doesn’t feel like we’ve lived here a year. Things still feel so new to me; my Spanish still feels like a careening car crash of grammatical faux pas.
Now that the State of Alarm is over, we can travel from one province to another. For about a week, the newspaper said just that: it is allowed to move freely throughout Spain. The last couple of days, they’ve added a caveat of a governmental spokesperson: now it’s up to personal responsibility; unnecessary travel should be avoided.
Who knows what’s unnecessary at this point?
Today I sent a query to someone who rents out a beach house — in Spanish. I used the future tense; I used the subjunctive; I have lived here a year.