On The Road With Maggie Scratch And Old Maria In A Rusty Old Car In Ibiza


Old Maria
“Old Maria is my neighbor. She’s as gnarly as her spreading carob tree that almost reaches my house. She lives in back with her menagerie of cats. When I first saw her, I thought: That’s a witch from a fairytale! I tried to place her. Hansel and Gretel! This wasn’t xenophobia, it was phobia, but it’s gone now. It disappeared the day I drove Old Maria home from Can Pepxica. Her and her layers of petticoat skirts, getting wet through the holes in the floorboard, as our rusty old car bumped over the puddles on the Benimussa road. We had a smooth turn at the hairpin, but when I pulled into the parking spot in front of Izzy’s studio, I remembered: today it was impossible to open the door on the driver’s side! Being stuck like that in the car with Old Maria was probably, in Nanny Scratch’s words, “meant to be.” I turned off the engine and we sat on top of Benimussa and appreciated the view. A bird whistled, “Wheeeet! Wheeeeeeeeeeeet! There’s no time like the present!” We stared at leprechaun hills and the smoky lavender sky with clouds full of coral colored rose petals. Izzy eventually came and let me out, but after that day, Old Maria and I are friends. If we see each other on the dirt path between our houses, we stop and talk about the weather. I’m lucky she’s practically deaf. She doesn’t say much. I answer the best I can. Our conversations would be a perfect example of Unconnected Dialogue, but they’re not unconnected at all. I speak Spanish, which she doesn’t speak, and she speaks Ibicenco, which I don’t speak, but, as if we know exactly what the other is saying, our dialogues connect. Old Maria’s Old Ibicenco sounds like chopped up Spanish, Catalan, French, German and Italian, with a little English and Yiddish thrown in.

Bon dia. That’s her.

Hola! That’s me.

Mirat tempestat?

Si, Si!

Tambe pluja?

Si!

Borrasca ventosa!

Si si!

Mirat las voltes?

Si si!

Molt! Molt! Violent!

Violent! Si!

Ay caray! Caramba! Molt be! Molt be!

Si… Si… caray!

Adeu! Gràcies! Salut!

Salut! Adeu!”

Maggie Scratch

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