mercoledì 19 settembre 2007
At brunch last weekend, my girlfriends and I were at the till waiting to pay when I became aware of a certain amount of huffing and puffing from the girl behind us. It soon became clear that she was bitching about us as, in the chaos and confusion of the place, we appeared to have jumped the queue – completely innocently I might add. She was moaning to her friend (in Italian) that “these foreigners have no manners….” “They think that they can do what they like just because they’re American…” (I’m not American FYI). “Just because I’m Italian doesn’t mean I don’t understand what they’re saying…” (We hadn’t said a word about them). Needless to say, I waited for the perfect moment, and much to the amusement of my friends, turned around and said, very abruptly, in Italian “Did we jump the queue by any chance??”. “No no, it’s fine”, spits back the girl. It blatantly wasn’t fine, but I certainly enjoyed the moment.
This reminds me of when I was a student in Siena, and one day whilst walking through the town, a group of teenage boys directly behind me started making comments amongst themselves, in Italian about the “bella biondina straniera” ( I was ten kilos lighter and seven years younger, you understand). Again I gave them a chance to say all that they needed to (some of it was really quite rude!), before spinning around and yelling at them in my then broken Italian: “Don’t think I don’t understand what you’re saying!!”. I remember them looking a bit shocked, but not much else as I turned on my heels and sped off, slightly embarrassed at the outburst, particularly since I was still finding my feet linguistically. Should something like that happen now, I would probably hang around, but then again that’s what ten kilos and seven years of experience does for you....