Elena is originally from Northern Spain and Tynan is originally from the English Midlands. Elena speaks beautifully precise and expressive English. As for Tynan... well, as I said, Tynan is from the English Midlands. No one — except other people from the Midlands, perhaps — is exactly sure what language it is Tynan speaks.
I have an ear for different accents. San Geraldo does not. Tynan speaks and I then translate most of what he says. Tynan has a very quick and sometimes wicked (OK, and sometimes weird) sense of humor. After he makes a witty remark or tells a little joke, I have to translate it into American English for San Geraldo. I then usually have to explain it to him. Sometimes, I listen to Tynan and then just turn to San Geraldo and say, "Never mind."
|A HOPEFUL EGRET AMONG THE RUINS OF THE ROMAN FISH-SALTING PLANT.|
A few months back, while Tynan was at work at Café Manila and San Geraldo and I were enjoying our coffees, he breezed by and asked, "Do you know why Charles De Gaulle had Greek letters on his hat?"
"No," I said. "Why?"
"Because he'd have looked stupid with French ones." And he was off to another table.
I didn't get the joke. First: I didn't know there were Greek letters on Charles De Gaulle's hat. And, B: I had no idea why the hat would look stupid with French letters. The guy was French.
|SITTING OUTSIDE LAST WEEK AT EL JAZZY BAR.|
I went home and read everything I could find on Charles De Gaulle, his hat, Greek letters. Nothing! This morning I finally remembered to ask Tynan for an explanation.
Tynan explained that in England, condoms are often called "French letters." (It's true. I looked it up. Don't ask me why, though. Everyone has a theory.) OK. So I now I get that part. Yes, De Gaulle would have looked stupid with condoms on his hat.
I then said, "I never knew Charles De Gaulle had Greek letters on his hat. What were they?"
Tynan said, "Oh, he might not have had any. But the decoration looked a bit Greek."
At this point, Elena and San Geraldo both groaned.
|A VIEW THIS WEEK OF THE PARK FROM THE WIND-FREE SAFETY OF EL JAZZY.|
But, I don't want you to leave thinking Tynan is nothing more than someone who has a peculiar way of speaking and tells bad jokes. From the first day we met him, he made us feel welcome and at home in Fuengirola. He's interesting, intelligent, charming; an adoring father to his son and daughter; he and Elena have an admirable relationship; and, well, OK, he talks funny and tells some really bad jokes. Groaners.
|I'LL HAVE TO CHECK OUT THE JAZZ (AND AN "AUTENTICO MOJITO") SOME NIGHT.|
Tynan very quickly rattled off the following (it has to be said quickly for full effect). Elena, having heard it before, harrumphed in disgust. I laughed out loud. I translated it into American English for San Geraldo. Another groan. Some people just don't appreciate Tynan's fine wit.
Tynan: "I went to the doctor and said, 'I have a cold.' He said, 'Flu?' I said, "No, I walked."