Madrid doesn't get that cold. Usually. This winter has been a little chilly.
Being from a Vermont, and therefore, a Norseman, I don't mind the cold. When it gets down to minus thirty fahrenheit (which it does in Vermont) I mind it a bit. But here it dips down to plus thirty only rarely. Because of that, I only have a black jean jacket and a windbreaker here for coats. But, in my continuing quest to become the ultimate metrosexual, Wendy suggested I get a leather jacket. I was open to the idea because every now and then (like standing, not moving for two hours, waiting for an event to start in the middle of winter) I wouldn't mind something a little heavier. Visions of a long black leather coat like Spike and Angel wore danced in my head. Wendy's thoughts tended to lean toward something a little more fashionable.
So this weekend we went coat shopping.
The first coat we tried on looked okay. Not fantastic, but pretty good. It was waist length and black. The second coat was brown and looked awful. The third was black, a little longer and it too looked awful.
The fourth coat was the longest of all and had a price tag of eight hundred Euros.
Eight hundred Euros is like a thousand American dollars. A thousand dollars for a coat. The salesman used his key to unlock it from its chain and I put it on. It was like a second skin. It came in around the waist and made my back and chest look bigger. It had flairs on the collars that highlighted my beard and cheekbones.
"Oh God, he's smiling" Wendy says to the salesman who is thinking about the lobster dinner he's going to buy with his commission.
"It does look great on him."
He said "great" because good isn't a strong enough word to describe how I looked in this coat. I was more muscular. More dashing. I think my penis was bigger. I was ready for the runway. I was ready to twirl at the end, not smile and give a haughty look to no one in particular as I made my way back off stage. I was ready for the red carpet over the shoulder pose.
It reminded me of something Wendy said in Baiona when a restaurant served us the most delicious bread.
"This bread is so good I want to take it home and sleep with it."
That's how I felt about that coat. It called to me like a lover.
I've never understood, until that moment, how anyone could pay a fortune for a piece of clothing, a handbag or shoes. Now I understood. I also understood why actors look like Gods at movie premieres or the Oscars. If a schlep like me looks this good in a thousand dollar coat, imagine what Brad Pitt looks like in a ten thousand dollar coat.
It was eye opening.
(The coat remains safely chained up at "The Corte Ingles" awaiting my return. We're going to see if we can find that style a little cheaper elsewhere. )
A lot eye-opening these days. I am trying to do a different form of writing that is really not my style. I'm a rambler. An anecdote teller. Long winded you could say. So, I've discovered that there are magazines that claim they are not looking for travel writing that lists places to stay and rates and maps to attractions. No, they are looking for anecdotes, quotes from people we met, things that make readers feel like they are there. Candy came up with a good name for them, "Travel Memoirs."
So last week I tried to mine my website and my book in perpetual progress "I'm not an alcoholic, I'm just European" for things that would make a good article. Which turned out to be far more difficult that I imagined because of the writer's guidelines. They want quotes and anecdotes and descriptions of your experiences, but they also want it in twelve hundred words. I have found that most of my stories about anyplace are five to ten times as long as that. As usual, Wendy gave me some great advice on accomplishing what I need to do, but it's a struggle. I'm not used to writing short concise pieces that leave out so much of my notes. But I'm learning.