Article written

Typical Italian fashion 2

Dear Bradshaw,

I had crossed Ponte Garibaldi and was five steps across Via Lungotevere Raffaello Sanzio when the light turned red and though I’d usually have dashed across anyway there were police officers directing traffic so I returned to the curb.

A woman standing as stiff and erect as a stop sign was watching me. As I went to stand next to her, she puffed her cheeks, shook her head, and said, “Anyway, the light was red.”

“Yeah, I know,” I said, stuffing my hands in my pockets, “but this is Rome, after all.”

She crossed her arms and clenched her jaw. “It seems to me it’s the foreigners and tourists who cross the streets against the light!”

I was so shocked and amused my mouth practically exploded. “Are you kidding me?” I asked. “I’ve lived and worked in Rome for nine years and for nine years I’ve left my apartment at eight o’clock every morning to go to work, and every morning at that hour I’ve seen people in suits and carrying briefcases who cross against the red, from Trastevere to Prati to San Giovanni. How many tourists wear suits and carry briefcases around Rome at eight in the morning?”

The lady’s face went red and I thought I saw sparks shoot out of her eyes. When the light turned green, she snorted and started to cross the street. I followed.

“What about the dog crap on the sidewalks?” I asked. “I suppose you blame the foreigners and tourists for bringing their dogs on vacation to Rome? Where I come from, you know, people pick up the poop. It’s not just the law but common courtesy, not to mention sanitary.”

You know me, Shaw, I’m normally a passive, easygoing person, but this lady and her outrageous comment had pricked me the wrong way. So when we reached the opposite side of the street and she turned left while I had to go right, I vented another pet peeve.

“What about lines?” I asked. “If you see a group of people standing in line in Rome, you know for a fact it’s full of foreigners and tourists because the only people who respect lines in this city are the foreigners and tourists.”

She was hustling away, while probably wishing an airplane would crash land on my head. Meanwhile, I had time to address one last issue. I yelled, “What about the people who don’t wait for you to get off the metro before they shove their way on! Foreigners and tourists? I think not!”

By now the lady was out of earshot, and I had five minutes to get to my lesson. I jogged there and, as usual, arrived on time. My student, however, in typical Italian fashion, was late.

48 people like this post.

subscribe to comments RSS

There are 2 comments for this post

  1. Pat says:

    Scott!! yep, you hit the idiosyncracies of the Italian culture and the attitudes that exist, oh-so-prevalently about straniere….lines, dog crap, going against the lights….ahhh, but isn’t it part of the charm???

  2. Scott Sussman says:

    Not only part of the charm but also provides background for blogging.

Please, feel free to post your own comment

* these are required fields

Scott Sussman is powered by WordPress and FREEmium Theme.