I’m living in Spain now. I like to call it an early, albeit temporary retirement. Every year professional athletes retire at a young age to pursue other interests and/or go bankrupt, further develop pain-pill addictions, and sink into deep post-playing-days depressions. Why shouldn't a copywriter who earned in the low-mid-range five figures be afforded that same opportunity?
Actually moving to Spain has been the life plan for some time, I always claimed that moving to New York City was just a multi-year layover before moving to Barcelona. It’s also the fulfillment of a lot of office-job-induced day dreams — dreams in which I had become so delusional that quitting my job, one that I actually very much enjoyed, to move to a foreign country with no plan made sense.
My other dream was to spend a December working in a Christmas tree lot on the Southside and Northside of Chicago, where I'd discuss Christmas and Derrick Rose with as many Chicagoans as possible, before eventually writing a book on how segregation and socioeconomics play affect Christmas and Bulls fandom. But that idea still needs to be fleshed out a bit more, and Rose is still a few years away from hitting the apex of his career, so I decided moving to Spain would be wiser.
And this plan — the Spain one, not vending Christmas trees in Chicago — made perfect sense to every single person from all walks of life I talked to. My favorite piece of advice came during one of the six times in 2011 that I practiced journalism and talked to real writer Jeff Pearlman, who said, “Do you have a plan for when you get over there? Because it would probably be better if you didn’t.” Brilliant. And just the kind of advice I needed to feel good about putting off any thought of forging a plan until I got to Barcelona, except for the obvious goals of seeing as much of Europe as possible and potentially getting a job at a pastry shop. But since arriving I’m yet to find a pastry shop that meets my criteria (pastry shop criteria to come in a future post).
Now that I’m here I’ve got all the time in the world to enjoy not having a job and attempt to suppress freak-outs about not having a job. I spent the first week fretting over how Barcelona is not New York City. Because it's perfectly rational expect (within 48 hours no less) to have the same love for a city in which you've lived for three years and developed countless friendships, when you show up in a country to which you've never been, where you only kinda speak the language, and know absolutely nobody.
My grandest fear is that I had it all in NYC, and by all I mean access to cheap-and-delicious lamb pizza plus almost-infinite chances to listen to Young Jeezy albums with people who enjoyed TM103 just as much, and for the very same reasons I do. What a world I had. Maybe if I have time between making croissants and confections, I will start an ex-pat club for people who simultaneously ironically and genuinely love Jeezy as much as I do.
I’ve since made peace with my decision to live in a city where I see a cloud once every 14 days, it's 60° in Janurary, I don’t work, and I share in a luxurious apartment with my prometida (my word of preference because fiancé still sounds weird to me. I also probably should have mentioned that I moved here with my prometida higher in this post. I'll work on not burying important details as this era of WheresPMac progresses). Having minimal responsibility and unlimited freedom can be rather enjoyable.
Especially when I consider the alternate is not seeing the Sun during a frigid NYC winter with my weekly highlight coming from "Bagel Monday," a phenomen I’ve learned about from my former co-workers who Facebooked about the greatness of free bagels at the office. But dammit, I do really miss NYC bagels.
Hopefully I’ll stumble into Paul McPherson again and during my what-the-hell-am-I-doing freak-outs I remember some of the first words he said to me in Monte Hermosa: “Man, Argentina's alright,” he sighed before taking a long pause and schemingly rubbing his hands together, actually I can’t remember if he made that motion, but lets just pretend he did because it makes the story 10% better. “As soon as I find some bitches and weed things will be better.”
So in the infinite wisdom of my all-time favorite NBA burn-out-turned Euro-league burn-out-turned-Argentine-league-burnout, I should be good on the former and just need to work on the latter of his formula for adjusting to a foreign location.
Something I pathetically don’t know: The name of Spain's president, or really anything about their government
Something I pathetically do know: Sebastian Telfair is averaging 3.8 points per game in the six games of the Suns' dismal 2012 season
Why I like the picture at the top of this post: It's taken from the top of Parc Guell, which is cool. More importantly, it's got basketball hoops and someone graffiti'd "Anarkia y Birra Fria" (Anarchy and Cold Beer), an ingenious phrase that I will definitely steal, should I decide to join any Occupy movements abroad.