Thursday, April 20, 2017

American Size Me

Today I was in my local post office (Post) to pay my electric bill.  Included in this bill is the national television charge of approximately 20 euros.  This is how the country squeezes the turnip and makes sure they get all the money intended.  It is all above the table.  One good thing I noticed was a sign stating that now free wifi is being provided while you wait in line.  This is a good thing!  Lines are long here, often stretching outside in the cold.  Bills are being paid, money withdrawn and packages mailed.  Nothing is quick here.

home made
It's market day in my village, always Thursdays.  Strolling through I found three vegetable sellers, two fish, one cheese, one roasted chicken, one shoe salesman, one florist, and assorted junky stuff made in China.  I bought two bottles of hot sauce spreads from the Sicilian guy, he is my source to stay spiced up a bit.  We are expecting visitors and maybe they will share my desire for a bit of heat.  I didn't expect  to see so few people on such a sunny day.   Sadly, absent for many months now is my accordion guy from Romania.  I miss his squeaky squeezebox sounds floating over the market.  Even though he knew few old Italian songs, I liked the Romanian ones.

                                           In my coffee bar

Lo and behold, I suddenly hear a British voice saying, "Well, I will call you tomorrow."  My head jerks quickly over and I spy a grey haired, jolly looking fellow putting his cell down.  This is a moment not to be missed and so I yell over to him, "Are you British?"  And we are off to the races.....Jim lives here in my village and writes a Friday column for a newspaper in Great Britain.  He is going to become a good friend....It is a good day!  I wonder if he likes Mexican food?  All this time I thought I was only one of two English speaking people in my village.
Mexican Plate

While Jim and I are talking, two old guys, my age, are sitting watching our conversation.  With a startled look like the discovered grandma is now roadkill, they seemed stunned.  I have talked to them before, but only in my slow Italian.  I am sure that they have thought I must be mentally challenged.  I have now been confirmed normal.  BTW, I am not normal!

When I first arrived at my coffee bar I had intended to sit outside in the sun.  The tables outsides had been rearranged and I had to look hard to find a place where I could actually even get a chair pulled back so I could sit down.  There was only one spot, and if I sat there no person could sit behind me as their chair would be straight up against their table.  This is a moment where I think, "Italians!"  Squeezing in is a good thing in their minds.   They like squeezing.  Crowded situations?........ no problem!    Touching..., up close and personal situations so tight you are  always worried about other hands sneaking to grab your  wallet while you stare at the hairy mole on someones neck.   You don't look into the faces of people, the rule is to stare off in oblivion.   (I cheat)   You get to know the locals really well in these situations.

 Italian furniture.    Bar owners in Italy always go cheap purchasing plastic chairs, or chrome designed chairs  so tight and uncomfortable that you know they want you to drink and "move on".   In approaching  a piazza we are always searching to find a bar with the best chairs.    Cheap bastardi!   Your vocabulary word of the day.
Italians  don't mind sitting in living room chairs where your butt is actually below your knees.  (Try to crawl out of that when you are old!) They don't mind little seats, and watch out in their movie theatres.  The seats are the width that would only fit a strutting fashion model.  The rest of us have to slide into a seating position shaking booty as if we are practicing the Macarena.  Getting out is worse!  I have often thought that Italians are related to the Japanese somehow.  Their beds are only raised a short distance from the floor, a real struggle for an old person to get out of bed and up into a standing position.

That's a short glimpse into village life for this week.
Ciao, Dave

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