“La última” literally translates to “the last one.” This could mean, for example, your last piece of gum, or the last person in line, or the last episode (which is sad, like the last episode of Downtown Abbey which leaves you waiting indefinitely for another season…). But more often than not, when it is used here, it is referring to having just one last drink. Which, I have come to realize, means absolutely nothing. Worthless. Like when someone says “I’m fine” and they don’t mean it? Yeah, it’s sort of like that. In my book, there are two reasons for this.
One is the company I keep. 🙂 Inevitably, when its already sort of at that hour that you might want to head home, someone looks around at the group and suggests having the “last one” before heading home. But, it isn’t even a suggestion, it’s sort of like a decision that has been made for the group. And this happens. And then it happens again. And then at some point, someone goes ahead and calls it the PENultima because they know it’s not really the last one. So after we go four or five rounds of this, and it’s like 4:00 in the morning (BUT you didn’t realize this because there don’t seem to be any clocks anywhere), someone (usually me) decides to put an end to it, and gets up and puts their coat on and makes a move for the door. Most of the time that is me. And some of the time, no one follows. (I should note that I have also been known to Irish Goodbye…you know, like just leave without saying anything…which is called a 13-14 here, in Spanish a “trece catorce” – it is important to know these things…).
The second reason is that there doesn’t seem to be any hard set “closing time” in some bars. Like in the states, last call is last call and some very large man will actually pick you up and carry you out if you don’t leave (not that that has every happened to me, per se…but it does happen). Here, in small town Spain, it’s a little more…relaxed? Like sometimes the bars close when they want, and stay open when they want. Or they are open until you and your friends have really had la última. We were even joking last night that they could basically have the shades down (the outside kind like everyone has here) and the lights off, and someone might pop their head in, and the bar owners might just think that’s okay. And if you know the bartenders or bar owners, the likelihood is that they will just join you for a few. And for la última, of course.
In any case. Sometimes it’s great (like for instance last night we were still out and got to see some of the pre-Superbowl music and kickoff) and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t fun. But sometimes it’s awful. Like when you wake up in the morning after one too many “últimas” and you promise yourself you are not going out with those people ever again. Which, like la última, really means nothing.
On a side note, I’d also just like to say that we’ve been having some really stunning winter weather here in Cantabria. Yesterday morning I was convinced we would need to build an arc and collect all our friends and animals. It was literally raining sideways and the winds were gusting at like 50 mph. And today, it’s raining sideways again. I think from the other direction. Pretty soon it will probably rain from the ground up, I don’t know. What are those pants called that you go fishing in? Oh yes, waders. I’m going to need some. (Side note: googling “fish pants” will yield some rather unfortunate results.)