Same, same but different

When you’re not having a rainbow and unicorns kind of day.

It’s amazing how many things can go wrong when you don’t even leave your house.

Stanley pukes all over your cream-coloured rug. Molly pees in the middle of your freshly-washed white cotton duvet cover (soaking through to the duvet itself, of course). A large pimple appears smack dab in the middle of your neck. Your clothes rack falls over in the wind, right on top of an ants’ nest. You bite into a butter-smeared slice of crusty white bread (healthy whole-grain, be damned!) only to discover that the S/Sal on the label is Spanish for “salt free.”

“Who, me?” says Molly.

And, finally, after a three-week hiatus, Mercedes returns to “the balcony” (see Lockdown #8).

I can feel something is off when I’m playing with the cats, running up and down the concrete path with abandon, fur-ball scrunchie cat toy in tow. I’m wearing my favourite lockdown outfit: the three-quarter length tights purchased from Oshawa General Hospital patterned with a mysterious design –  Carnations? Parameciums? Windmills? – accompanied by fleece-lined reading socks stuffed into faux-Crocs, and topped by a hoodie/Aran-sweater combo.

This is my no-one-will-ever-see-me-who-cares outfit, but never let down your guard when you have Mercedes living above you.


While I’d been feeling safe since the lockdown began, this feeling, apparently, is over.

“We need fresh air,” Mercedes says while gripping the fence. She points to Husband #3, who, I should add, is called Andrés.

“You are playing with the cats,” she says, stating the obvious. She turns to Andrés and says, “She is playing with the cats.” I think this is one of her techniques to teach me Spanish, and I have to say, it kind of works.


“You are shopping,” she says when she sees me at GADIS, repeating the phrase, as always, to Andrés. “You are walking,” she says when she sees me walking to GADIS. “You are cleaning the garden,” she says, which I now know means that I’m weeding.

Yes, there are good lockdown days and there are bad lockdown days, but I can always count on Mercedes to keep me on my toes.

I can also always count on the view from my yard.


Every day the view is slightly different, and it’s the one thing I never grow tired of here. Sometimes a moon is rising, sometimes a storm is brewing. The colours change hues, the water changes shape.

“Same, same but different,” was a saying I learned in India when shopping for just about anything. It was a way for vendors to entice me to pay more for items that may have looked the same, but were, according to them, of much higher quality. It was also a philosophy for life.


As we enter the fourth week of lockdown in Spain, and the government announces we could have another three to go, a lot more same, same is on the way.

Let’s hope Mercedes and the view will keep doing their thing.


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