In Spain, taking a coffee can be an enlightening half-hour. Especially if you’re going through a rough patch.
“Confía en el tiempo, que suele dar dulces salidas a muchas amargas dificultades.” (Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra)
“Trust in time; it usually gives sweet endings to many bitter challenges”
Usually. Thanks, Miguel.
Words of wisdom from the great and good (and unknown) – welcome or not – are printed on sachets of sugar, which you can read as you sip.
They can better a mood, deepen a depression or simply make you want to order another coffee to see what comes next.
“A veces te encuentras en medio de la nada, y a veces, en medio de la nada es cuando te encuentras.”
“Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, and sometimes, in the middle of nowhere you find yourself.”
I stare into the depths of my coffee cup. It’s empty … what next?
“Cuando tienes razón, nadie lo recuerda. Cuando estás equivocado, nadie lo olvida.”
“When you’re right, nobody remembers it. When you’re wrong, nobody forgets.” (Muhammad Ali)
True, Muhammad, but it’s coffee time in the sunshine – shall we lighten up a little?
“Si supiera que el mundo se ha de acabar mañana, yo, aún hoy, plantaría un arbol.” (Martin Luther King)
“If I knew that the world would end tomorrow, even today, I would plant a tree.”
Still on the deep side … but I wish I had it within me to feel that.
It becomes a game, like a roll of the dice – a small sweet moment of anticipation while we wait for the hot drinks to be served: what will the sugar say today? Over to Einstein.
“Todos somos genios pero si juzgas a un pez por su habilidad de trepar arboles vivira toda su vida pensando que es inútil.” (Albert Einstein)
“We are all geniuses but if you judge a fish for its ability to climb trees it will live its whole life thinking it is useless.”
My second coffee (this is addictive) bears Virginia Woolf’s stern and slightly scary gaze.
“Puedes cerrar todas las bibliotecas si quieres, pero no hay barrera, cerradura, ni cerrojo que puedas imponer a la libertad de mi mente.” (Virginia Woolf)
“You can close all the libraries if you want, but there is no barrier, lock, or bolt that you can impose on my mind’s freedom.”
Surely some days a sugar sachet must hit the bulls-eye – a random but fortuitous hand-pick by the waitress just when you need an obliging kick up the backside.
IMPOSIBLE: La Esperanza es desear que algo suceda, la Fé es creer que va a suceder, y la Valentía es hacer que suceda.”
“Hope is wanting something to happen, Faith is believing that it will happen, and Courage is making it happen.”
Or there might be a less random selection for the rude customer …
“Dígale guapa a la camarera antes de irse.”
“Say goodbye to the waitress before leaving.”
(We make a point of always doing so hereafter).
One last try before I leave this village. I order my usual café con leche – milky coffee – which comes in a small straight glass without handles (you need to be a tough nut and/or have asbestos hands to enjoy it hot. Or become a delayed gratifier.) My sugar sachet has this pearl of wisdom:
“Piense usted lo que quiera pero pienselo.”
“Think whatever you want, but think about it.”
So I think
- My Spanish is improving, albeit it with a philosophical slant, and a heavy reliance on Google Translate.
- Small sachets of sugar have the capacity to sink a person into a mire of self-pity.
- Or fuel a psychobabble coffee break.
- Of course it’s a clever marketing gimmick, to be ignored or embraced as you will. For me it’s a just bit of fun – although some of the quotes do well to encourage a focus on the here and now, e.g. the magical ritual of mixing ColaCao.
- I have an issue with hot coffee served in a glass.
- But, for one quote or another, I’ve become addicted to it.
- I need a quote for that.
“Te ha pasado alguna vez que estas buscando un lápiz y lo tienes en la mano? Pues algo similar ocurre con la felicidad.”
“Has it ever happened to you that you are looking for a pencil and you have it in your hand? Well, something similar happens with happiness.”