Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder

Why did I ever think that four adults who live alone and aren't fucking one another would work as travel companions? Was I nuts! In reality, it's not so bad. Nobody has killed anyone yet, and we seem to alternate having mood swings so it's never a group thing. A few months ago, my friend Rose and I decided we would go to Spain for vacation. Neither of us had ever been, and it seemed like a boss plan. Figuring the more the merrier, we invited Kurt (B. Reighley) and our pal Deb. I figured I'd share some of our trip's highlights with you guys.

After dealing with both our "to" and "from" flights being cancelled, we finally made it to Barcelona. As Rose, Deb, and I wandered around Las Ramblas very early Sunday morning, waiting for our room to be readied, it became clear that while I was just another girl back home, in the land of bullfights and sangria, I was irresistible—to the over-70, toothless, drunken set anyway. We couldn't figure out why I was being singled out for what we guessed were propositions (sometimes it comes in handy not to know the native tongue), while the other girls were getting off scot-free. We sussed out later that women in Spain generally wear pants. Clad in my baggy linen smock dress, capri-length leggings, and black loafers, I was looking quite the naughty temptress to these horny lads. The fact that I packed only dresses has resulted in quite a bit of elderly male attention. Nothing like incomprehensible alcohol-fumed hissing coming at you through a set of yellowed choppers to make a gal feel muy bonita.

To liven things up a bit (and to give me something to write a column about), we decided to have a "Who Gets Fingered First" contest—mostly because I love using the word finger as a verb. In truth, I'm really not looking for love (or digits) because (hopefully) I've got a man waiting for me back home (more on that later). Deb is also smitten, so she wasn't really participating, either. But it was something to do. So far, we are all fingered-free; although for a few brief minutes in customs it looked like Kurt might be the winner. Alas, 'twas not to be.

Though I was never a big fan of his, we went to the Salvador Dali museum at Kurt's insistence. And for once, man, was I glad Kurt is such a bossy boots. The museum was amazing, full of funny mechanical things you could activate by inserting a coin and optical illusions that were hysterical as well as beautiful. It changed my mind about a man whom I'd always considered an artist for stoner types who love Escher. But the real highlight of this day trip was the train ride home. We were about a half hour outside of Barcelona when the train just stopped. Dead. For an hour! We were flipping through our Spanish-English dictionaries, desperately trying to make sense of the announcements, when the train began rolling. Final destination: some weird suburb. When we got off the train, Rose looked up the word we'd kept hearing; it translated as "terrorist"! Apparently, there had been a Basque Separatist bomb threat at our train station. OK, so no bomb went off, but it did make the day so much more exciting.

As I mentioned earlier, things can get a little testy when you're traveling with other people. By about the third or fourth day, I had been banned from selecting restaurants. It seems I have a knack—more like a gift—for picking the worst possible places in cities filled with the most delicious food imaginable. One day, after poring through the Picasso Museum (magnifico!), I led us to a dimly lit Italian place. Truth be told, I selected it only because it wasn't as brightly lit as the other places along the avenue. It was filled with German tourists (bad sign), and the food was inedible. Lucky for me, it was noted that my meal was by far the grossest, so they couldn't get that mad at me. But by restaurant number two (the most famous German restaurant in Madrid), the group had turned on me, and I was banned.

Once we arrived in Madrid, we got a hotel room with a TV so we could keep tabs on this election debacle. Three of us didn't receive our absentee ballots in time, so we feel like double-dipped shit about not voting.

But mostly it's been fun. The only rotten thing about this trip is missing the man I left behind. I am not used to missing anyone. Sure, I would sometimes wonder how my cat was doing when I went away, but it's been years since I've truly pined for anyone. And man, pining I am! It's horrible. I spend far too much time at Internet cafes, writing him sappy, soppy e-mails and staring into space, wondering what he's up to. One night as my companions and I were sipping absinthe at some charming cafe, I found myself getting all teary-eyed when that John Waite song "Missing You" came over the speakers. Oy! I'm una basketcasita!

Hola! Write dategirl@seattleweekly.com or Dategirl, c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western, Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104.

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