giovedì 20 settembre 2007

Fight! Fight! Fight!

I am often to be found ‘hanging out’ at the bar that Luca runs with his family in the city centre. I tend to go a couple of times after work during the week, and during busy times will occupy myself by working on my laptop, catching up on emails or updating my blog. This is what I am doing right now in fact, interspersed with the odd cigarette break or chat with the locals. About two metres to my right, seated outside is a couple who are fighting like cat and dog. I can hear them through the glass and it’s getting more and more violent by the second. They’re both wearing wedding rings so I – perhaps foolishly – assumed that they were having a husband / wife disagreement. When I heard “your wife gets everything and I get nothing”, I started listening in. “You stand up for her and you never stand up for me!” “She gets the best of you and I get the leftovers!” “You never acknowledge me in public!” and so on and so forth. It’s been about half an hour now and they show no sign of letting up. This is another curious cultural oddity which I noticed fairly on in my Italian experience when, aged 16 on holiday with my parents, my dad and I began having what my mum would call a “heated debate” in the middle of an outdoor cafè (I think my skirt was too short or something!). Part of the way through I realised that no one was taking any notice as most of the people around us were making more noise than we were, whether they were arguing or not. It was then that I realised if you want to get ahead in this country, you need to make our voice heard. Whether it’s yelling out “I’m next!” when the lady at the fish counter stops taking notice of the numbered tickets and starts serving her next-door-neighbour before you, or simply getting your point across in any discussion regarding politics, football, food, religion - well anything really - in Italy you must raise your voice; the louder the better….

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