Day 7: I’ve Got the MooOooOooves Like Jagger

by Eli Hodapp

Wow. So much has happened in the past 24 hours I’m not even sure where to start. I guess let’s start with where I left off yesterday. I had a bunch to do for TouchArcade, so I arranged my whole day to be very front-loaded to do everything I posted about yesterday by the early afternoon when the American business day starts. Well, largely in part by how much Brad was able to get done this allowed me to take a longer than usual American “lunch” which because of the time change amounts to Spanish dinner.

I wandered down to Port Vell, which is the are directly to the south west of Barceloneta where all the boats are docked. There’s this waterfront strip of restaurants which couldn’t possibly be larger tourist magnets. I walked up and down Passeig de Joan de Borbó looking for the place that looked the most authentic and finally settled on the cleverly named Port Vell Restaurant. It had a lot to do with how hilariously broken the English was that the hecklers on the sidewalk were speaking. “Come eat, food amazes the soul,” they were telling me. My soul could use some amazement, so, I went for it.

Inside, the restaurant was arranged in the strangest way. Immediately inside was this very elaborate desk, almost like the front desk reception area at a hotel. Only, behind this desk, was this woman who looked like she belonged in The Triplets of Belleville her proportions were so strange. She was wearing one of those stereotypical green visors like you’d imagine an accountant of the 1920’s wearing, and sad there just pounding away on this ancient calculator complete with pull arm to total calculations. The downstairs area only had half a dozen tables or so, and a mysterious staircase leading to a second floor. I’ve got no idea what was up there, and I’m not sure I’m brave enough to find out.

I was seated without much issue, and greeted by an incredibly pushy waiter who kept insisting I order all these things I didn’t really want. I held my ground though, and ended up with an Estrella Damm beer, some bread, and seafood paella- Which, oddly enough, was all fabulous. Well, fabulous except for one thing. The stereo there was locked on to the American top 40.

Typically, when you order paella it comes in whatever you call the dish that they actually cook it in. From there, the waiter comes and presents it to you, then usually steps away to divvy up the paella amongst as many people as you ordered the portion for. This usually is a really cool and appetizing experience, as few things look and smell better than a freshly prepared steaming pan full of paella. Unless, of course, it’s being presented to you to Maroon 5’s Moves Like Jagger. That ruins it. Just a little bit.

Well, whatever. The food was good, so I paid my bill and headed home to do some more work and go to bed.

This morning I went up, went for a run, took a shower, cut my face like crazy shaving for some reason, and then made a pilgrimage to the Nudie store. I’ve been totally into Nudie brand blue jeans for at least ten years now. I can’t really put my finger on what I like most about it, but the entire concept of dry denim is just ridiculously appealing to me. I’ve got an old pair of Nudie jeans that you can still see the fades from my I-Mate SP5 in the front pocket. It’s just so cool how these sorts of jeans conform to you and the things you carry. All the things that their marketing spews are totally accurate.

Anyway, I’ve lost so much weight that my 36×32 jeans look totally silly on me. It was amazing to not only be able to wear a 32×32 again, but also have them fit great. I’m not even joking when I say that it seems like I was born to wear the jeans that I bought today. They’re so perfect. Also, they expect to get some selvage lab jeans in the cut I like in a few weeks. I’m so excited to check them out. That’d be the absolute pinnacle of my denim snob collection. And, really, a couple weeks is the perfect amount of time to rationalize just how much these jeans are going to set me back.

So, I got home in the early afternoon and settled in for wading through emails, fielding IM’s, and all the other activities I do during the day. Things were irritatingly uneventful, as it still seems like not everyone has recovered from blowing everything they had on the Christmas release extravaganza. We’ll see what games come out tomorrow.

How slow today was with iOS news made it pretty easy to head out for dinner again. I got some sushi and discovered not one but two great bars in the Gothic quarter that had awesome happy hour specials. Oh, and what’s crazy about Barcelona happy hour is that it goes to 11:00 PM. €3,50 mixed drinks and €1,50 beer? That’s almost free. The problem, of course, like most things in the Gothic quarter is that finding these bars is practically impossible.

The Gothic quarter was designed way before anyone even dreamed up the concept of cars, so the whole area is this labyrinth of alleyways that are barely wide enough for two people to comfortably pass each other. It feels so old, I love it. The problem with this is that you never, ever, have a clear line of sight to the sky to hit enough GPS satellites to figure out where in the world you are. This problem is only compounded by the fact that in Spain, like most European countries I’ve been to, street signs only exist as small plaques on the sides of some buildings.

Both bars were filled with people who spoke English, so I’m definitely going to have to go back this Friday, or Saturday, or whenever. I’m having such a good time in Barcelona. The only thing I’m really missing is my friends and family from the USA. I wish I could just teleport them all here, then I could just stay here indefinitely without ever looking back.

And, in significantly less fun news, my Dad’s health is not doing good at all. Before I left I had encouraged my parents and sister to travel south to Florida to visit my grandparents for a couple weeks in between chemotherapy treatments, thinking that maybe their mental state would improve if they escaped from the horrible Chicago winters. Not the case though, it’d seem, as according to my Mom, my Dad hasn’t been able to eat anything since they left and he “looks like he’s ready to die” in her words.

I’ve got no idea if it’s the stress of the travel, or something else entirely, but talk about horrible news to get when you’re 4,500 miles away from home. I looked into flights to return to the Chicago area, and it looks like if I need to go from Barcelona to O’Hare on short notice it’s going to cost me in the area of $1,500, or potentially much, much more.

I’m not really sure what to do, as I feel terrible being so far away, but at the same time, I’m not sure what rushing home will accomplish. I just so clearly remember my ex-girlfriend Aimee’s grandma’s death from cancer so vividly. We were over there what couldn’t have been more than two days earlier, and she seemed fine, although noticeably weak and not interested in food. Then, we were visiting her in the hospital where she was plugging away at her morphine button shouting depressing things like “God take me now,” and then died a few hours later.

In the few seconds he’d talk to me on the phone, my Dad told me he didn’t want me to fly home. So, who knows. I guess I’m going to try to get some sleep and see what happens tomorrow. I just hate thinking that I’m dicking off here eating paella and buying designer blue jeans while my Dad is dying in a twin bed at my grandparents’ condo. I really hope that isn’t the case, but it’s so hard to tell.

I was really hoping to return home to great stories of how much a quick trip to Florida improved things for my parents, and how my Dad’s chemotherapy is doing well. Or, really, anything but this.

C’est la vie.

I feel like I should be there. I mean, my Dad has been there for me throughout my entire life, unquestionably, throughout both all the moments that’d make any father proud, as well as through all the things I did that were unbelievably stupid. The sacrifices he made to do that are immeasurable, as a big part of the reason why my parents’ have nothing now is because they gave everything to my sister and I when we were growing up. I never spent even a second at day care, and both my parents were there to send me off on to the bus at each first day of school, and every important event afterwards.

It’s the least I can do.

I guess I’ll sleep on it.