A friend of mine who is currently in between jobs has been calling me regularly with updates from the field (although I must admit, the same thing happens to all the husbands left behind to fend for themselves in the city every August). Ever since he arrived in Italy, he had a pretty good job with a personal assistant. Turns out that that assistant did everything for him, so he wouldn’t have to deal with it himself. Now, he’s been seeing for the first time, what many of us (especially women, even working women) have known all along:
- did you know that you can’t get anything done at lunchtime? All the stores are closed.
Yes, except in the city centre, and although I find it an endearing (and an unfortunately changing) part of the Mediterranean lifestyle, it does, in fact, beg the question: If all the retailers take Mondays off only, when do they get their errands done?? I have often wondered this and still do.
- did you know that you can’t buy stamps at the Post Office? But, you can pretty much pay all your bills, go Christmas shopping, open a mortgage, invest in mutual funds and buy tickets to a show?
Yes, and, when you do a Christmas mailing you have to actually go to a dozen different tobacco shops to buy them, because each one will only sell you a few of their stash in order to ‘save’ them for other clients who may ask for them (see excellent link to 'The American' magazine on the sidebar for a story that all of us have experienced).
- did you ever notice how many grandpas are in the parks pushing little babies around in strollers?
Yes, and, while it makes it easier on the family, all psychological results are in—with the verdict that the absolute worst place for little babies is with their grandparents (on a day in, day out basis). They just don’t have the energy to interact & deal with them. Lord knows I can handle my nephews for a max of 72 hrs. at which point I have been known to hang white sheets out the window, with the words AIUTO scrawled across them.
Another friend noticed that her baby was up all night on the days she left her with the in-laws. Turns out, they’d close her in a room shutting off all the lights and then declare, “She’s over-tired. She sleeps all the time”. To wit she would respond, ‘if you closed anyone in a room and turned out the lights, they’d fall asleep too!’