Traveling is a great occupation — for so many reasons, not the least of which is the differences between home and “there,” wherever there might be. In this case, it’s Spain.
In Spain, my normal breakfast of Weetabix with raisins and organic milk is replaced with hearty ham and goat cheese, fresh fruit and coffee with hot milk.
In Spain, our rampant consumerism is replaced with a two-hour midday siesta, when shops are shuttered and families and friends leisurely dine together.
In Spain, my country’s clenched sphincter is replaced with a mobile prophylactic dispensary.
Yes, you read that correctly. In the land of Semana Santa, home of the Spanish Inquisition (Tribunal del Santo Oficio de la Inquisición), spawner of Catholic missions up and down the state of California, what did we find out front our Madrid hotel? A vending machine that dispenses toiletries, condoms and lubricant, the Pharma24h Vendo.
We, my curious daughter and I, opted for the “Love Box,” a handily attractive tin with three lubricated condoms and an illustrated package insert in more languages than I can fake.
How practical. How healthy! How — I wonder how Rep. Darrell Issa (Rep. 49 CD) and his Tribunal of the Holy Office of Female Purity (Tribunal del Santo Oficio de Pureza de la Mujer) would feel about having a condom dispenser outside the Rayburn House Office Building?
Of course, some 75 percent of Spaniards self-identify as Catholic, but a piddling few of them actually bother with attending services — or much else of the Church’s dogma. They have the sense to acknowledge the wisdom of contraception, the joy of sex and the inherent right to marry. Same-sex marriage has been legal in Spain since 2005. Here, they seem to enjoy their faith without all the oppressive dogma.
Perhaps that’s another difference worthy of note: U.S. inquisitors seem to be running on dogma without faith. And isn’t that a heartless occupation.
Kit-Bacon Gressitt's commentary and political fiction can be read on her blog Excuse Me, I'm Writing and is republished by SDGLN, The Ocean Beach Rag and The Progressive Post. She was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize while working for the North County Times. She is also host of Fallbrook's monthly Writers Read open mic and can be reached at email@example.com.