Choir boys and busybodies / Niños del coro y entrometidos

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

I continue to move files from my old to new iMac (too many photos clogged up the automation, so I’m cleaning up folders before I send them over). So, today I thought I’d share some art I saw last time at the Carmen Thyssen Museum, Museum of Málaga, and around town. I’m overdue for another visit. The current special exhibition at Carmen Thyssen is “The Art of Belgium” from Impressionism to Magritte. That should be fascinating.

On my walk the other day, I bumped into a woman, an English expat, I regularly try to avoid. She and her husband spend most mornings at a cafe on the Paseo. If I walk in that direction, I watch for them and sometimes turn onto the beach to avoid them — specifically her, as he hardly speaks. I thought I was safe on this particular day because it was late afternoon, long past their coffee break. I was plugged into music and successfully escaping reality for a while when I came face to face with her as she took her dog for a quick walk. She’s bossy, nosy, a terrible gossip. She likes to help friends and acquaintances and then complain to other friends and acquaintances about how much she’s inconvenienced.

We met her through English friends who visit a few times a year. They have shunned her, refusing to see her the last time they were here. She of course told me that. She asked if I’d been in contact with them about their next visit. Without lying, I was able to say, “No, I haven’t.” San Geraldo had email from them last week that they’ll be here in November.” He was in contact; I was not.

After our last trip to Las Vegas, this woman told those friends that SG had lost $60,000 while we were there. Our friend told her she was sure that wasn’t true. I can assure you, it’s not. She insisted it was. She once commented that we were too good for a Toyota Yaris (which is what she owns) and had to throw around our money with a Prius instead. She tells me to wear a hat or I’ll get trigéminas neuralgia (known as the suicide pain disease), to not take out the trash before 10:00 p.m. or I’ll have to pay a €500 fine, to not give flowers to a Spaniard because it’s considered bad luck. Once she asked me if she could touch my sweaty muscled leg — and I even let her do it!

This time she told me my beard was ugly and then asked if SG was still clean shaven, since he looks so much older with a beard. And yet I stood and talked with her politely for 20 minutes rather than nodding a brief hello and continuing on my way. After 20 minutes of being falsely pleasant, I lost my mojo. Why do I do it? Or more precisely, when will I stop doing it?


Sigo moviendo archivos de mi antiguo iMac al nuevo (demasiadas fotos obstruyeron la automatización, así que estoy limpiando las carpetas antes de enviarlas). Entonces, hoy pensé en compartir algo de arte que vi la última vez en el Museo Carmen Thyssen, el Museo de Málaga y en la ciudad. Estoy atrasado para otra visita. La exposición especial actual en Carmen Thyssen es “El arte de Bélgica” del impresionismo a Magritte. Eso debería ser fascinante.

En mi caminata del otro día, me crucé con una mujer, una expatriada inglesa, a la que trato de evitar regularmente. Ella y su esposo pasan la mayoría de las mañanas en un café del Paseo. Si camino en esa dirección, los vigilo y, a veces, giro hacia la playa para evitarlos, específicamente a ella, ya que casi no habla. Pensé que estaba a salvo en este día en particular porque era tarde, mucho después de su descanso para tomar café. Estaba conectado a la música y escapando con éxito de la realidad por un tiempo cuando me encontré cara a cara con ella mientras sacaba a su perro a dar un paseo rápido. Es mandona, entrometida, una terrible chismosa. Le gusta ayudar a amigos y conocidos y luego quejarse con otros amigos y conocidos sobre cuánto la molestan.

La conocimos a través de amigos ingleses que la visitan algunas veces al año. La han evitado, negándose a verla la última vez que estuvieron aquí. Ella por supuesto me dijo eso. Me preguntó si había estado en contacto con ellos sobre su próxima visita. Sin mentir, pude decir: “No, no lo he hecho”. San Geraldo recibió un correo electrónico de ellos la semana pasada diciendo que estarán aquí en noviembre”. Estaba en contacto; Yo no estaba.

Después de nuestro último viaje a Las Vegas, esta mujer les dijo a esos amigos que SG había perdido $60,000 mientras estuvimos allí. Nuestra amiga le dijo que estaba segura de que eso no era cierto. Puedo asegurarte que no lo es. Ella insistió en que lo era. Una vez comentó que éramos demasiado buenos para un Toyota Yaris (que es lo que ella posee) y que teníamos que gastar nuestro dinero en un Prius. Me dice que me ponga un sombrero o me dará neuralgia del trigémina (conocida como la enfermedad del dolor suicida), que no saque la basura antes de las 10:00 p. m. o tendré que pagar 500€ de multa, por no regalar flores a un español porque se considera mala suerte. Una vez me preguntó si podía tocar mi pierna sudorosa y musculosa, ¡e incluso la dejé hacerlo!

Esta vez me dijo que mi barba era fea y luego me preguntó si SG todavía estaba bien afeitado, ya que parece mucho mayor con barba. Y, sin embargo, me puse de pie y hablé con ella cortésmente durante 20 minutos en lugar de saludarla brevemente con la cabeza y continuar mi camino. Después de 20 minutos de ser falsamente agradable, perdí mi mojo. ¿Por qué lo hago? O más precisamente, ¿cuándo dejaré de hacerlo?

• “Choir Boys,” by José Gallegos y Arnos (1885–1890) detail. Why do the boys all look so haunted, I wonder.
• “Niños del Coro”, de José Gallegos y Arnos (1885–1890). ¿Por qué todos los chicos parecen tan angustiados?, me pregunto.
• “Emigrants,” Francisco Jurado Ternero (1975).
• “Emigrantes”, Francisco Ternero (1975).
• The Birth of Venus. Mosaic from the late 2nd century found intact in the 1950s in Málaga province when a home owner began renovations on his house.
• El nacimiento de Venus. Mosaico de finales del siglo II hallado intacto en la década de 1950 en la provincia de Málaga cuando el dueño de una casa empezó a reformar su casa.

Click the thumbnails. The Twizy will be almost actual size..
Haz clic en las miniaturas. El Twizy será casi de tamaño real.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

40 thoughts on “Choir boys and busybodies / Niños del coro y entrometidos”

    1. David:
      Not all of us were necessarily raised to be too polite. Maybe some of us were raised to be doormats.

  1. Perhaps in the next encounter with Ms Rudeness (unless you can avoid her altogether), the minute she criticizes you or SG in any way, you can put your hand up and say, “Enough.” Then just walk away. Not easy to do, but she is beyond toxic. Why subject yourself to it.

    The first picture of the women makes me glad that today we can wear t-shirts and yoga pants and not get trussed up like chickens about to be roasted. Look at those waists! Corseted so tight it is no wonder women fainted all the time. They couldn’t breathe.

    1. Mary:
      Those corsets, what a nightmare. Definitely need to make a change with Ms Rudeness.

    1. larrymuffin:
      Yes, but the history of the Catholic Church in general. Spain didn’t corner THAT market.

  2. Oh yes, false social pleasantries. It’s a cross we all must bear from time to time. However, I’ve been known to snap occasionally and tell someone what I think of them. Did that once at bridge club with an obnoxious woman who was GETTING. ON. MY. LAST. NERVE. By the time I get to that point, I’m all out of fucks to give, as they say.

    Yes, it’s hard not to see any photo/picture of choir boys these days without wondering which among them are/were abused.

    1. Love a good “SNAP” too! Funny thing is my followers list seems to be shrinking LOL! Ron here!

      1. Ron:
        I’ve never witnessed you giving a good snap. My experience is that the ones who day have a lot more followers!

    2. Debra:
      I have snapped a time or two when sitting with someone. I need to be more direct when having conversations in passing.

  3. You are just too nice, Mitchell. Channel your inner bad boy next time.
    I’d love to see the “house” that mosaic came out of!

    1. Wilma:
      The house was probably an ordinary contemporary home. It’s incredible what they were built atop without even knowing.

  4. The next time you’re cornered by this person, enjoy yourself: “The €500 fine is worth it!” “SG’s birthday is coming up; he’s 102 years old!” “We eat locusts for breakfast!” “We’re moving to a mansion in Senegal next year!” “Did you know my work is on display at the Carmen Thyssen?” “We just got back from visiting King Charles!” Then wait to see how the tales come floating back to you.

    1. Chrissoup:
      Great idea. I DID one time share with her something minor that wasn’t true. It DID get around. But ”we just got back from visiting King Charles… Oh sorry, I have to run.” would be hilarious.

  5. It looks as if the altar boys are looting the church, which for some reason I find hysterically funny.

    1. Wicked Hamster:
      I find that hysterically funny, too. And so much better than what I was thinking.

  6. Oh, God, I hate people like that! Being Welsh and gobby, I have been known on many occasions to get to the point of no return and shout “I. Have. Had. ENOUGH!” They soon depart. Jx

  7. That mosaic is beautiful!
    I can relate to your story about not wanting to meet certain people we don’t particularly care about or get to know any better.
    There is this fellow with his 3 large white dogs that takes/walks one of the trails we hike on.
    Nothing wrong with the dogs but he is ALL over anyone who has direct eye-contact with him. He will not shut up……some people can demand your full attention.
    We no longer take that trail.
    Try not to allow that woman to take any more of your time.
    As you said, nod and keep walking. That would send a message. And you are allowed to do that.

    1. Jim:
      Thanks! I knew I wasn’t alone in this. A shame you feel obligated to take a different trail.

  8. What Jim said ‘two-fold’ ~ my experiences with this frigging nutbar started 2014 when I had my heart attack. I do believe that my “snapping’ responses were for my protection ~ my need to be calm LOL

    1. Ron:
      Ooh, I’ve never heard you say anything like frigging nut bar. He must be quite a piece of work!

      1. Something just came over me ‘wink wink” I had to finally let loose. Hey maybe you could learn something good from my slip of the tongue and brain burp!

  9. The art exhibit will be far pleasanter than the woman. I like to tell people absolutely ridiculous stuff. I would have said, Yes, we were down 60k but the next night he won 60 million. Have you seen our new Rolls Royce? We love it.

    But that’s me. I have also been polite to obnoxious people many times. Now I try to get rid of them as quickly as possible. I hate it when a nosy acquaintance asks for my phone number. I provide a number I can still remember that I had years ago in Illinois.


    1. janiejunebug:
      Others have suggested the far-fetched stories as well. That could be a lot of fun.

      1. I’ve left 2 disappearing comments on your new post. I give up! But I hope everything works out well with finding different medical care.

  10. I would simply smile and ask her why she asks such intrusive questions.
    I once had a co-worker say that she thought that I acted like I was rich and there fore better than her. I smiled and said, “I am.”
    Conversation over.

    1. Bob:
      There are a number of people I need to channel. You have always been one of them.

  11. I don’t react well to petty tyrants/bullies like that cow. The next time she cannot be avoided, I’d blurt out: “Oh, X, I heard you died — I was just on my way to send flowers to your husband!” Then just walk away.

    1. Tundra Bunny:
      [wicked laugh] We once watched two people run into each other on the Paseo. The woman screamed, “You’re still alive!”

  12. Those paintings are brilliant.
    As far as the mosaic, I’m completely mind blown. It looks new – yet it’s pretty darn old. Wow.
    Thank you, Mitchell, for sharing such powerful pieces of artwork and history.

  13. I’d give that b*tch something to gossip about! I wouldn’t ever deny anything…I’d embellish it to hell and back. Did SG lose $60,000? NO! HE LOST $100,000! If she said there would be a $500 fine, I’d say that was no problem for us! And I love the idea in a previous comment about telling her you’d heard she died and was on your way to send flowers. Hahahaha!

    Seriously, though, I hope you’re having a better day today, my friend.

    1. Jennifer:
      I think this is the best advice, although I couldn’t pull off “I thought you died…” The guilt when she does!

  14. Perhaps a bit of honest diplomacy may work? I hate confrontation (and people like the one you describe) but I try to think more about how the people they are gossiping about would feel if they new I engaged in it with her and let her say things. I can often screw up the courage to say things like “I’d rather not discuss other peoples personal affairs” or “I prefer to discuss positive things. There’s enough ugliness and discord in the world as it is. I don’t want to contribute to it.” if all else fails, force yourself to do a polite wave, smile, and hello, and keep walking. She’ll either take the hint, or confront you about it,. allowing you to tell her her conversations make you uncomfortable so you prefer to avoid them. She will never change her behavior, but you can. Don’t let her be a constant black cloud in your life.

    1. Sassybear:
      She’s always so argumentative and has such negative energy that I don’t think I want to get into anything with her. I’d rather be confronted that volunteer. Thanks!

  15. Just tell her “I rebuke you demon. I rebuke you in the name of Jesus Christ”, do the sign of the cross and then walk away as she begins to burst into flames 🙂

    1. Shirley:
      It’s such a great idea and I would do it. But the last time I did that with someone I felt guilty for days… and I couldn’t rid myself of the smell of smoke.

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