Wednesday, October 15, 2014

You don't say...

Language barrier
It's odd who one may happen
to speak to while on the road.
The other day while we were
gnawing on gnocchi a couple
from New Jersey suddenly
started talking to us. Whether
lonely or bored they felt the
need to reach out. And while
you might assume that we had
little in common with the head
of Moonachie's Department of
Public Works, suddenly we
were chatting like old friends!
Outer limits
I guess some find it oddly charming
but honestly, we already have more
than enough friends at home. Even if
I wanted to make your acquaintance,
I'd hope we'd share more than that
we're both out of our element. Why
is it that only our fellow Americans
want to be friends? I'd much rather
hang with some elegant Florentines
than a couple from Canarsie. We're
here to learn something new rather
than be reminded of all the reasons
why we left the United States.
None of my business
Then again, it's understandable as
Florence can be a rather lonely place.
Anywhere else, I can easily snub the
snobbiest of snobs. Yet it's more than
obvious that many locals think their
biodegradables do not stink. While
this city is elegant, that doesn't give
some clerk the right to bear a chip on
their shoulders. Frankly for the first
time I've felt snubbed in some shops.
What I can't figure out is whether it's
my inability to communicate or the
fact that few if any carry my size.
Size matters
Suddenly here in Italy - Frank requires
a medium or a large. Within this context
it makes sense that any and all of what
is called "XL" more closely resembles
togs that one can purchase in the boys
"husky" department back home. For this
boy that means that at most I can wear
them as hats and little else. Who wants
to see this grown man strutting down the
corso with a pair of pants on their head?
Hence even if I can afford what they're
selling, I'm not able to buy even though
I want to. Hence my lack of snob appeal,
Off the menu
In Rome we rarely had reservations.
As rat race escapees our preference
is to stroll, explore, or discover. Yet
here in Florence it's obvious that if
one does not call in advance, you're
destined to dine at the table next to
the loo. While capital punishment is
outlawed in Italy, being sent to sit in
Siberia is the equivalent of a stint on
death row. What's worse is who one
gets seated next to. Suddenly dear
old Moonachie starts to look pretty
damn posh in comparison!
Over and out
When will my fellow travelers finally
realize that everyone here speaks and
hence understands English? The rules
of decorum don't change just because
one is in a foreign land. Last night our
neighbors sat and loudly discussed an
impending resignation. While one can
appreciate the need to eradicate a bad
boss from one's life, why does it also
require ruining MY dinner? Repeated
reviews of her exit strategy motivated
us to exit sans dolce. We travel to get
away - not to help plan your get away!
Rise above it
The oddest phenomena is all of the
posturing. Suddenly anyone from
Queens feels they can act like the
queen. When one thinks nobody is
listening or speaks their language,
the world suddenly becomes their
stage. Traveling to a different time
zone does not necessarily guarantee
my willingness to give you the time
of day. So please, mind your own
business and if you feel the need to
tell someone everything, please do
us both a favor and call home!