As most people know I’m Italian-American and that fact comes with a mixed bag of pride and shame. Sources of pride can be found in the language, literature, and many historical moments. The biggest origin of shame is the television show ‘the Jersey Shore’ (among others really but that’s a pretty big cradle of contrition).
I find the country to be wondrous, beautiful and warm. The people tend to be like that too but mostly I find them to be a jolly, humorous bunch. Some recent events I’ve witnessed have produced chuckles from me and from others in my retellings. Just before Easter, I had gone shopping at my local ‘Whole Foods’. I’ve never seen a grocery store so bustling with people! As I was ticking items off my list, I saw a bunch of nicely (and brightly!) dressed people in front of the meat counter staring at the various cuts and types of meat. One woman said to the others “Look at that meat”. She said this in Italian and my interested was piqued. They commented on t how red and fresh everything looked. They were stunned by how cheap the meat was in comparison to the prices in Italy. And all I could do was chuckle because they acted as though they had just witnessed the royal wedding from the awe and amazement on their faces.
Another time I was in a restaurant waiting for take out. I was eavesdropping (something I normally do, don’t you know!) on the hostess, who was taking a phone order, and her boss standing behind her giving her directions on how to take phone orders. She proceeded to tell the caller that they could look at their menu on www.webaddress.periodcom….instead of dot.com. This made me laugh because I understood why she said the web address that way. When she got off the phone, the boss corrected her and told her to say dot com. And she explained to him that in English class they told him that the period was call a period and not a dot. And he said ‘Well, you know Americans don’t know English’. This made me laugh out loud which I covered up by coughing. The hostess later approached me to explain what had happened (even though I already knew because I speak Italian – score 1 for Angie and I was eavesdropping – score 2 for Angie) and asked me to explain if web addresses end in dot.com or period.com. I explained the rule to her and then got my food and went home.
The link at the end of this entry shows another reason why I think Italians are funny as heck! It’s sad that there could be an earthquake in Italy today but Italians (in Italy) will use any excuse to not go to work. Even if the excuse is to spend time with their family in case they die; I wonder how much they care for this same family if there isn’t a natural disaster involved. And I’m amazed at how superstitious Italians still are given that they aren’t as religious as they used to be.
Regardless, I hope nothing happens today in terms of earthquakes. And I sincerely hope that more people will go to Italy and experience this wonderful country. Hopefully everyone will experience a chuckle or two in their presence.