The exploits of the evil family whom I won’t name continues to be a thorn in my side, too painful a topic to approach again, and so I will contine with another lighthearted anecdote.
This one is dedicated to all my various Italian colleagues whom I had the pleasure of working with over the years, and who made my office hours so…interesting… Now that I am working wholly with Canadians, polite, non-sarcastic, impersonal, and determined not be curious, with no sense of irony, I sometimes feel a pang of nostalgia for my Italian ex-colleagues, who were capable of asking me in a staff meeting how my husband managed his money, or shouting in the office kitchen that they would kill me if I put ketchup on my pizza.
Anyway, my closest “colleague” here, in a rare and unique moment of intimacy born out of developing an office policy and procedure manual, told me about her Italian honeymoon. After raving about how beautiful Rome was, she started slagging off Italians for being so rude to tourists. She recounted that one night in a fancy restaurant, her husband didn’t get the dish he had ordered, and he wanted to complain to the manager. Now in Canada, where customer service is a fine art (as I keep repeating- I just can’t get over it), if you complain to the manager, he will come and cry at your knees and beg you to forgive him and give you a gift certificate and so on. But in Rome, they have a more non-capitalistic approach. Another couple in the restaurant complained to the manager, and he promptly threw them out, screaming that they had better go and eat at MacDonald’s, and that they didn’t deserve his fine Italian pasta. So my colleague begged her new husband to just shut up and eat whatever pasta they had served him in reverent silence… She also said that she had started learning Italian months before the honeymoon, in anticipation of the voyage. But none of the Italians gave her a chance to use it: the moment she spoke a word, they interrupted and told her to speak English, insisting that they could understand it very well. Which was not often the case.