As I wait for my child by the entrance of our apartment building, I notice Don Ramiro walking out. The eighty-year old man in his pressed suit and tie, heads off to whatever pretend job he goes to, the kind where the “girl” fetches him coffee while he does the crossword puzzles and plans his lunch dates with his Franco-era cronies.
Is the middle-aged man deferentially following Don Ramiro a new man-servant? Could the old codger be getting more feeble? I discuss it with my husband. He’s doubtful “Nah, the bad ones hang on forever. Their toxic personality acts as a preservative.” I have another theory. “Maybe they’re secretly afraid of Hell?”
Don Ramiro is a machista who thinks he’s a gentleman. He feels immensely superior to women and to foreigners. He hates children. He has neither manners, nor education, nor culture, nor any professional distinction that I’ve heard of. He did, however, have enough common sense to marry the daughter of a president of a national bank. This means that he manages his wife’s inheritance, which includes three apartments in our building. No self-respecting third world dictator presiding over his domains takes himself more seriously than Don Ramiro executing his responsibilities as head of the Building Association of Serrano XX.
In this capacity, he once dragged us to court and tried to kick us out of the building on the grounds that our uncivilized American habits caused us to wake up too early in the morning (7am) and our children made too much noise.
Don Ramiro, if we have to leave this building, I hope the next tenant is an Arab or African soccer player. If it’s a childless Spanish couple. I hope they have lots of parties, smoke crack and play really loud music. I hope the next renter decides to use the apartment as the locale for his thriving Casa Putas. Don Ramiro, when you get older and more infirm, I hope the poor third world woman taking care of you isn’t very nice. I hope she forgets to change your diapers and lets you sit in them. I hope you sit there powerless in your wheelchair while she watches her favorite telenovelas every time there’s a Clasico or Champion’s League soccer game on TV.
And when it’s your time, I hope the chasm of Hell opens up and the demons drag you down while the orchestra plays the finale of Mozart’s Don Giovanni.