Wednesday, September 04, 2002

Francis found a certain charm in Edu's half-belief in something most Americans would call magic, superstition, the powers of a curandera. Americans were fond of believing in things, but they were at heart a nation of rationalists who discounted the non-scientific. They pursued any number of fads, but such fads were invariably backed up by what they thought of as science, albeit all too often a spurious science. Americans felt they understood certain inexplicables, and ignored the rest. UFOs with an aura of science they believed in, ghosts they didn't. And so Francis was enchanted when Edu told him, after the floor in the dining room had been cleaned with ammonia, "I shouldn't have cleaned the floor, I felt a bad spirit there, in the corner. Something bad happened there, I know," and then he washed it with vinegar, which his grandmother had taught him would exorcise ghosts. Francis didn't not believe such things, it was just outside of his experience, and contributed to his feeling that Spaniards - or more accurately Argentinians - were curiously sophisticated and childlike at the same time. He wanted desperately to believe in ghosts, but he had been too mired in America for it to really work. Ghosts only lived outside the United States, he knew they would disappear once he got back home.

from a Barcelona diary, 1998

The Swedish word for the day is trolleri. It means magic.

- by Francis S.

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