Lost in Barcelona

Dolphins - Rosanna Piano (pinterest.ca)Image courtesy of Rosanna Piano

When I was a young man, I began searching for the meaning of life. Along the way, I wrote a travel journal, a mix of prose and poetry, and labelled it Fool’s Odyssey.

I got off the bus in Barcelona and had a panic attack. The signs were in Spanish (!), which I suddenly realized I didn’t actually know. What was I doing here? Yes, sí, a beautiful girl had invited me. But really? Well, all right, that was true for the bottom half of me. But the top half was still “searching for something.” Was there any reason to think I’d find it in the vacuum left by Franco? No. Except that I hadn’t found it in London or Paris. So why not here? I went walking, journal in hand, and then stopped to write:

“Things were strange enough when I did understand the language. I’m pretty sure I just asked a woman at the Barcelona Zoo where I could buy a ‘bag of children.’ Sí, I try to hablar with native flair, but I suspect that when I do I must have the same dull, sweet expression as my friend’s Irish Setter when he says, ‘I love you’ in dog.

“Still, I do love the Barcelonians. Because they’re lost like me. Me, silly, brilliant, gifted idiot that I am, so rich in my poverty, so poor in my wealth. Barcelona is:

the sweetest raisins I’ve ever had

and men with streaky beards

and women as lovely as sand

and priests who stand in doorways

yelling at bums who dribble

and pee in dancing fountains

and down by the harbor

old ship’s cats

who’ve lost their sea-legs

boney things who stammer when they meow.

I saw a pirate in a doorway

but the best he could do was a canary.

I was lost, and the Voice hadn’t disturbed my sleep for three nights now. Which was good. Not really. I missed it terribly.

Like me, Spain was trying to find itself. Except that, unlike me, it couldn’t get on a bus; it pretty much had to find it in Spain. In my journal, I wrote, “What were you doing, Francisco Franco? Look what you did.” In Girona, where my bus had stopped on the way to Barcelona, I’d spotted a school of dolphins, and written:

With gentle, undulating,

pink and purple dispositions,

the dolphins sail the Costa Brava.

I think dolphins are

a lot more human than people.

To read the next episode, click here.


About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Fool's Odyssey, Humor, Memoir, Poetry and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Lost in Barcelona

  1. Pingback: My Journey to Barcelona | Mitch Teemley

  2. Andrew says:

    so did you find the meaning of life:)?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “so rich in my poverty” lump in throat

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I got a big kick out of the “Things were strange enough paragraph,” very funny. I love the poem, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. gpavants says:


    Another piece of the journey. Live it out brother.

    In Christ,


    Liked by 1 person

  6. So, did you ever get your bag of children?

    Liked by 1 person

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