Friday, 12 March 2010

Living in Italy Part I

Oh how I miss those polite, little birds. You know the kind - genteel, elderly ladies in their 70's and 80's - still "with it" - nervously pecking around, self-conscious, constantly checking to make sure they aren't in anyone's way. English women mostly, suffering from our national epidemic of embarrassment. I met one today: Australian, in line at the bakery. I let her go first. She was skinny and all angles jutting out to gesture what she wanted, spoke not a word of Italian. I loved her instantly. Green eyes and her dyed brown bob of hair. These kind of ladies don't exist in every culture. In a generalizing way, I have to say that Italian women have stolid meaty elbows to push the competition out of the way in line at the grocery store. They are not paranoid in any way. I miss that jumpy insecurity - that sensitive skin that is so aware of all those around them - trying to figure out who's next in line, not wanting to jump ahead of anyone. Italians don't care who's next - it's always them, as far as they're concerned. You notice it the moment you arrive at Fiumicino airport - someone will inevitably jump the queue at passport control. In Italy the queues form horizontally. They were right - that's why I let my nervous Australian bird go first, because no one else would . She had that lovely tourist attitude of not-wanting-to-offend-trying-to-get-everything-right. We could use a few more like her around here. I love those elderly birds and I miss their flutterings.

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