I have learned at least one new Spanish word and that is Tonto. It means “Stupid”. (The feminine is Tonta and a group of stupid people are Tontos, really stupid people are called Tontoron. They have a word for everything the Spanish). Now I don’t know about you, but this puts the relationship which the Lone Ranger had with his sidekick in a whole new light! It also makes we wonder if Johnny Depp really knew what the people at the Spanish Premier of the new Lone Ranger film meant when they were shouting “Tonto”at him. Actually judging by the panning the film is getting it could just have been a one word review.
Nowhere has the word been used more than when driving. The Spanish have much the same attitude towards driving as they do to most things. Laid back. They are not lunatics like the Italians, just kinda casual. “Should I indicate at this roundabout? Nah”; “Shall I just randomly stop at the edge of the road without warning? Yeah, why not”; “Shall I leave my car double parked on the side of the road? of course”.
Since I was last in Spain there is a new feature that has made road travel more interesting. No, not the plethora of new roundabouts which appear to have sprung up all over the place, but the addition of big stickers on the back of hire cars. Both our people carriers have big yellow Centaro car hire stickers on the rear windows and as you travel about I’ve noticed other hire car companies with similar stickers. I have nick named these “idiot stickers”.
Due to the high number of tourists around here the sticker may as well say “I’m not used to driving on the right” or “if my driving is a bit erratic then that’s just because I’m trying to sort out the air con” or “which way around the roundabouts is it that I go?”. Having one of these tonto stickers is actually quite liberating. They are a licence to drive as badly as you want and for everyone to know why. Local white van drivers overtake you on blind corners because they know the road and you are just a tonto. Pedestrians look at you with glee when they see you approaching junctions and mutter “what’s this tonto going to do here?”.
There are a lot of tonto drivers here. Some Spanish, but many English. We just trundle around on the wrong side of the road trying to work out how fast we are really going and wondering all the time “is that car beeping its horn at me?” They are, tonto!