Sound Postcard : 008 : 25 Pesetas

There’s something special about having a recorder [or a camera] around you all the time. Certain opportunities just present themselves, like Kodak moments, to be captured and preserved. This is a story about one of them…

I was walking on the street when I stopped to pet a beautiful dog – a Corgi. I think I was more interested in the dog, until the old man walking him started talking to me. I don’t remember how the conversation started, until he said something like “never do today what you can leave till tomorrow…“, which is the complete opposite of what I thought that the actual saying should be. And then he added, “… that’s what they say in Spain.

And like many people at his age, something triggered a memory, and he started telling me about how he was stationed in Madrid, during his service in the Army, and how he was part of the team, building the gas pipelines from Barcelona. That turned to the cost of living “at that time“, and by the time Americans were finished with the project, “… they got expensive as hell“.

Only at that moment did I think of quietly slipping my hand into the pocket and hitting the record button, while inconspicuously holding the recorder around my waste line. I really like his voice and his accent as well – I think he’s from the South (Texas?). Below this recording is my attempted transcription thereof, in case you’re having difficulties understanding…

“… They got expensive as hell. Price, when I was there,  a thousand peseta note… was like… eh… to them was like a thousand dollar bill. You can feed a family of four on fifty cents a day. And feed them good! Twenty five pesetas would buy everything they need for that… that’s what they used to do, is shop, you know, every day. The maids would go on and buy the groceries at the market. Yeah, but I… I understand. They dug up all those old Roman roads and made super highways… [a car goes by right at that moment] They really ruined a beautiful country, is what they did…”

They really ruined a beautiful country…