Italian thoughts and stories in a second language
Today I was at the supermarket, queuing behind three elderly ladies.
“How pretty you are”, said one of the ladies to the checkout girl. Then she looked at the girl’s fingers. “How come you’re not married?”
“I don’t know”, replied the girl, smiling.
“You should go out. Meet people”, said the second lady.
“I do. I go out. In fact, I’ve been taking dance classes. Latin American mostly, but also Italian. Tonight it’s Liscio.”
“And you haven’t met anyone?” said the third lady.
“You will. You will meet someone. Tonight you will meet someone”, said the third lady.
“I hope. It’s 48 euros and twenty. Cash or card?”
“That’s good. Dancing is good”, said the first lady. “I too danced, once.”
“Cash”, said the second lady.
Fear is the voice on the radio telling you that the pension you will get when you finally retire will amount to no more than 35% of your salary.
Did you know?
Not here. Not in Italy.
We were all too busy dancing.
They say the government is working on a new retirement plan.
I already have the title:
“Free guns for Christmas”.
Oh happy day!
Yesterday I met my father for the first time.
Of course it was not easy at first. When I got to his house, he locked himself up in the closet to avoid meeting me. To get him out I had to threaten to publish the pictures. You know, the pictures. Those of him dressed as a teenage cheerleader. Those with the ponytails. Right. Those ones. But after that first moment everything went fine.
He took me out to dance, that same night, and on the way there he showed me the house where he and mum had lived before I was born. Now it’s a church built in the XVII century.
Everyone we met greeted us kindly, waving their hands. My father is very respected in the neighbourhood, you know. They even named a duck after him.
It was the most exciting moment in my life. Well, not really the most exciting, to be honest. There was the time I shot Bin Laden, for example. Or when we drowned his disfigured corpse into the Red Sea after chopping off his finger tips and searching his wallet for cents and dirty pictures. So it was the third most exciting moment in my life. Oh, and then there was the dropping of the first bomb on Tripoli. I must still have a picture somewhere. There’s me, the bomb, and the sun. And if you turn it upside down, there’s the sun, the bomb, and me. All the three of us with a big smile on our face.
I have my father’s smile, you know, and his eyes. I look exactly like him. We’re like twins, people say. And in fact I read once that twins are not only identical, but also very close emotionally. Like in the story of the Eskimo twins. “We are so close”, says one of them, “that when he masturbates, I feel guilty”.
Anyway, I was so happy to be with my father that I did not even ask him why he had been away so long. Why he left my mother the day after I was born. Poor mum, she suffered a lot, and at the time she was very mad at him. I think that in a way her resentment was reflected in my upbringing. On the first day of school, the teacher asked me my parent’s names. I answered, “Sandra, and that son of a bitch of you father”.
There was a misunderstanding, because the teacher thought I was talking about her father. Quite a tough start, on a first day of school. She didn’t bother sending me to the principal, but called a priest and had me exorcised on the spot.
Oh happy day.
It’s this landscape, Brian.
It’s eating me through.