Aquest article no està traduït al català; es mostra la seva versió en anglès
On being admired in primary school
(CATALONIA TODAY – SECTION: LONG-TERM RESIDENT - ARTICLE THIRTEEN)
I am well aware that it's considered tacky and tasteless to write about the cute, smart things that your own children do, but bear with me, I'll be as brief as I can.
Last week, at the (very good) local school my son goes to in the Fort Pienc neighbourhood of Barcelona, his teacher decided to run a memory test. She held up photos of winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature, recited their names, and then, a moment later, held up the photos again to see if the pupils, aged between three and four, could remember who was who. All went well until the turn came of a picture of a well-fed middle-aged man with no hair. There was a stunned silence. Nobody, it turned out, had a clue. Then, out of the blue, my son, who is only just beginning to talk, yelled: "Pablo Neruda!"
The entire class, the teacher included, burst out in spontaneous applause, leaving my son, evidently, pleased as punch. It was easy to see why for a few days afterwards he went about shouting out the name of the Chilean poet at the most uncalled-for moments: he was conjuring up this first taste of success.
A taste which comes whenever we do something that inspires admiration in other people. I've only really had the pleasure of this taste once, myself, but it has lingered on the tongue to this day. I was in Valencia, in 1999. My second book had been awarded the Premi Octubre de Narrativa. Relentlessly self-deprecating as I was at that time, when I climbed onto the podium to collect the prize and saw half a thousand people rise to their feet to give me a standing ovation, I felt a dizzying joy, an uncontrollable elation, a moment of almost perfect happiness.
A moment not so different, I imagine, from the one my son had last week, when he shouted 'Pablo Neruda' in a room full of infants.