I thought I was invisible until I came to Spain. Seriously, walking on the streets of cities like New York and Philadelphia you are literally invisible to other pedestrians. Perhaps it’s not a great characteristic of the States. Alright, scratch that; it is a really awful quality of the US. I think people should always try to be aware of their surroundings (we’re not humans anymore, we’re robots). Yet, it feels so good having your own space. There’s this sense of privacy even though you’re walking outside, in packed streets. It’s incredible.
But why am I writing this? Well, I just came back from taking out the trash and crossing the street to the Chino grocery store by my house, and this old man walking by my building almost stopped and stared me up and down and then some. He actually turned his head around and kept walking like that, staring at me for a good few seconds. I was like, alright…this has gotten a bit ridiculous.
When Chris and I went to Castellón for Semana Santa, he wanted to walk in the middle of the processions with everybody else. However, people’s eyes kept moving wherever we moved, so much that in the end I had to suggest we got out of the way so that our Alien selves didn’t distract the masses.
The point is, Spain citizens stare. They stare hard. It’s part of the culture. And I don’t mean just the “you look familiar” kind of stare. No. It’s an empty fixed expression on their face that I have yet to figure out. Out of curiosity, I asked a few Spaniards I work with if they could elaborate on the subject and send some enlightenment my way, but they say they’re not sure. They do think it’s rude, nonetheless (though they’re not any different). But don’t know what exactly turns on the stare-switch. I may never find out.
If you come to Spain, especially if you visit small towns (like Ciudad Real and Castellón), you will see what I mean and you will wonder; do I have something on my face? Is it my clothes? Is it my hair? They stare to the point of discomfort and you just want to go to a corner and hide. ha ha. Ok, maybe not to that extent, but it is something. It intrigues me. I really do want to know what it is they’re looking at.
Anyway, I just wanted to share that experience. 🙂