My idea was to have a nice introduction where I’m at, but I’ll skip that and I’ll start with just sharing a story. This is my second day in Italy, where I live at the moment. I’m living really at the countryside.
At my job here I have a little Fiat Panda. This evening a guy was coming to fix the internet, but I knew I had time for a little exploring with my car.
Off I went, driving in the Italian countryside, vineyards, sunset, warm wind, old men with bad backs and two sticks to help them walk, some kids on bikes, hills colouring the landscape. Feels like a fairytale. After about 15 min I had to turn back to be on time and so I did.
On the way back I met the old man again. I guess he’s about 85-90 or something. He puts out one of his sticks as he’s standing almost in the middle of the road so I have to stop the car and pull my window down, more or less to say that I don’t speak italian. Like a 90-year old, half blind, no teeth, italian countryman probably with dementia cares about me able or not to speak italian! He did not. He talked and started to pull the handle. Now, I’ve been around in the world and so far my gut feeling has been good. I thought this old man was just tired of walking and I could drive him home. He went in the car and he was talking and talking and talking and talking and so on… I asked ‘dove’, which means ‘where’. He pointed straight ahead and continued to talk. I drove and asked about the little roads if I was going to turn, he said no, and I continued. After a few minutes I asked him a full sentence. Mister, where is your house?
Guess what, he pointed behind the car… So when I asked ‘where’ he probably thought it was nice to go straight ahead, when I asked him where he lived, the answer was different.
I turned the car around, started to think I could be late to meet up with the internet guy. We passed one house I asked if he lived there, he did not. I started to figure out solutions, like to bring him to my boss and ask what the man was saying. Then he talked more vividly about one house and I understood there was where he was living. I turned in to the little road and we came to the house, but he didn’t leave the car. He was in the middle of a story or something, so he just continued to talk! Finally the guy in the house, which I think was his son came to the car and I could see a little panic in his eyes what the old man had been up to now… Funny thing is that the son looked remarkably much as the blond guy in dumb & dumber, just a little older… Anyway, the old man, yes, he kept on talking. His son, opened the door and told him to get out. The old man did not. This kept on going, since my Italian is extremely limited I could say ‘I’m going’, ‘I’m going now’ and then of course, body language. Finally I physically had to gently, but very firm push the old man out of my car, while he was still talking.
The son thanked me and I drove back as fast and aggressively as I could (trying to learn how to drive as an italian. Embracing it all you know.)
I somehow made it on time for the internet guy, told my boss the story. We were laughing and then, of course, he warned me to open my car for men in Italy. I would normally not do it, but 90-year old, half blind, no teeth, italian countryman probably with dementia, felt like alright (not to be done again though… )