quix·ot·ic: hopeful or romantic in a way that is not practical.
Full Definition of QUIXOTIC:
1. foolishly impractical especially in the pursuit of ideals; marked by rash lofty romantic ideas or extravagantly chivalrous action.
2. capricious, unpredictable.
Merriam Webster Dictionary.
As most of you know, the title of this blog comes from the song “Man of La Mancha,” from the Broadway musical of the same name. The musical is about both the life of Miguel Cervantes and his most well-known character, Don Quixote.
Don Quixote is not necessarily an admirable character. He’s clearly delusional, and the “tilting at windmills” was because he thought he faced a horde of giants. That we think of him fondly owes as much to popular representations of him as it does to Cervantes’ magnificent novel. (Although it is true that Cervantes seems to be fond of his character, as well. The piece is clearly satire of romantic and chivalric traditions.) At least in my circles, “quixotic” is not a pejorative: being quixotic may not be a good trait in all circumstances, but it is one viewed with a sort of bemused fondness by most people I know.
I am quixotic. I don’t know if I am proud of that, but I am certainly willing to embrace it.
I am going to Spain soon (knock wood), to La Mancha and Castile, among other places. I do not know if I will make it out to Alcala de Henares, Cervantes’ birthplace. I did last time I was in Spain, eating at the Ristorante Rocinante. Given that it was primarily a steakhouse, the name was a little unsettling (Rocinante was what Don Quixote named his horse).
I am sure that I will think often of my mascot, and wonder if I should maybe try to be less like him.*
*I am absolutely convinced that I will keep humming “The Man of La Mancha” all the time we are near Madrid. Once we head south, that changes to “The Barber of Seville.” I know, because that is what I did the last time I was in Spain.