Good Friday

I just spent the most hallucinatory three hours getting back to Mandrione from Trastevere. Here are some things I witnessed:

  • Lady in the front seat of the bus who loudly explained the entire route to her cell phone caller. PYRAMIDE, COLOSSEO, LIBICANA, PORTA MAGGIORE, I’M GETTING OFF AT SAN LORENZO, YES, YES, RIGHT THERE, RIGHT. She was probably 75 and had her hair did and fabulous sunglasses and carried an orchid plant the size of a small child and an enormous foil-wrapped chocolate Easter egg.
  • When a young woman next to me answered her phone and began talking loudly, an ancient woman started matching her in volume while speaking to the front seat lady about how rude it is when people speak loudly on the bus. Her tirade included such gems as, IN MUSSOLINI’S TIME YOU WOULDN’T HAVE BEEN ABLE TO TALK ON THE PHONE LIKE THAT.
  • Then a tiny nun got on and started speaking over this din to the driver, in the most high-pitched voice I’ve ever heard: DO YOU KNOW THE SANTA SOMETHING PARISH? DO YOU GO THERE? CAN YOU TELL ME WHERE I NEED TO GET OFF THE BUS?
  • Front seat lady joined in: I’M GETTING OFF THERE, IT’S IN SAN LORENZO, I’LL TAKE YOU.
  • Tiny nun: OH THANK YOU BECAUSE I AM NOT FAMILIAR WITH THE NEIGHBORHOOD.
  • Ancient woman: HAPPY EASTER.
  • The niceties went on for quite some time.
  • There was a girl in the seat across from me with a canvas bag that read: YOU ARE MY STIFF HELL in big letters.
  • Will start incorporating this phrase immediately into daily discourse.
  • While getting my new scheda for my Internet key, the lady at Vodaphone who has now seen me like four times finally asked me outright, What the hell do you do on the computer? I explained to her that I work online. She was like, yeah but 5 GB a week? I found this the perfect time to school an Italian on what it means to “work online” and how the Internet works in the rest of the world.
  • She was impressed and said, I want a job like that! I said, hold on, I’ll be right back.
  • I then went to the edicola and bought this month’s Cosmo and showed her the article I’m in (which was about working virtually – and how you can, too!).
  • Her boss offered to buy us all drinks. I said, no thanks. She said, But if you don’t it will bring bad luck. I said, OK a peach juice then.
  • A waiter from the cafe around the corner brought us a tray of cookies and coffees and my juice, and we chatted for a while.
  • I KNEW THAT ARTICLE WOULD PAY OFF.
  • In peach juice, apparently.
  • The Coop was packed with entire families buying everything they need for the next four days.
  • If you’ve got that many people in your family, nonna can stay home with little Francesco and you can leave the rest of us in peace.
  • I had to schlep 10 kilos of sausage and fresh mozzarella (long story) to three different tabacchi to buy mezzi tickets, because it’s the end of the month and no one has any.
  • Hipster juggler in the middle of the street at a red light.

18 thoughts on “Good Friday

  1. Sitting in a cafe in Trapani, I watched a (presumably Italian) young lady walk by with a sweatshirt reading, “Seattle, California.”

  2. OMG I want to marry this post. I love every detail, and it could not be more charming if it also included tiny Italian puppies barking in an accent.

    Also? I love the Coop, so much. Every time I come across one, I’m as thrilled as if it were a free theater or museum. It cannot be explained.

    This is indeed my stiff hell.

    • OMG PLEASE use “my stiff hell.” Maybe if we use it enough the phrase will meet in the middle somewhere, geographically.

    • Also, you would loooooove this Coop. It’s enormous and nothing is where you think it should be, and their pasta aisle is like the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles.

  3. OMG I sOOO loved this – what a fab story. Thought I’d lost touch with everybody as FB hates me & asks me to log-on 45 times before I can read a message! Thanks for helping me start my holiday with a big smile!

  4. I would love to talk with the woman about what wasn’t and was allowed under Musolinni!

    Getting phrases going: a student at CMSP (who you would know) heard me say something was snazzy. She has never heard, nor did she know, the word. She decided to make it hip word, and she and I would monitor how long it took to catch on. She was popular – so it spread like wildfire just based on her use. I think you have that power, so here comes my stiff hell!

    • Yes, you must have them disseminate it! Ha! and, by the way, YOU’RE snazzy. And you owe me a nice long email!

  5. I’ll be doing my best to incorporate my stiff hell into all conversations I have on the tube – thus spreading the message to all those squashed in with me. I’ll report back on the responses I get…

  6. Here’s what I’m dying over right now:

    IN MUSSOLINI’S TIME YOU WOULDN’T HAVE BEEN ABLE TO TALK ON THE PHONE LIKE THAT.

    (Spews coffee on screen.)

    She’s right, you know.

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