Updated: Dec 8, 2019
I was really sweaty when I got to Madrid. And my first impression? Spain is dry. And is there really no air conditioning? But conscious lack of AC wasn’t the cause of my excessive perspiration. That was my fault. As cultured and world-travelled as I am not, when I settled into my aisle seat for the eight hour flight across seas and smelled for the first time the life-well-lived cologne of booze and cigarettes of the groomed, leathery man next to me, I had no idea trans-continental flights included free drinks. And then he ordered.
“Vino tinto, por favor.” He was so casual about it with the expert flick of his wrist. The attendant nodded and tilted the boxed wine over ‘til it flowed like a river in Bacchanalian heaven. My jaw hit my collarbone as she handed him his wine on a cute little napkin and then turned her attention to me. He didn’t have to pay?! I normally wouldn’t start out a hot September day with room temp, red wine but all I could manage was a nod and an uncertain point at his cup. Lucky for me, the attendant understood Idiot, and poured me a glass. Color. Me. Tickled. She moved on down the aisle without so much as a receipt for me. Hot damn, this was going to be an easy eight hours.
Cut to four hours later and I’m starting to break out in that all too familiar sweat that precedes a series of vomiting and dry heaving. And while I don’t want to make assumptions or judgments about strangers like “alcoholic,” I have to say that my four years of undergrad at an SEC school did nothing to prepare me to keep up with ol’ iron-liver next to me. And maybe it was my competitive nature or maybe it was the allure of free booze, but every (seemingly) five minutes he called over the attendant for a refill, I followed suit. It was like my first night out with my fake ID all over again. I couldn’t stop. So my first few hours in Madrid were a bit sweaty.
Hope I made a good first impression.