Termini Station, Rome 2012
May 13, 2012 by orvietoorbust
Proper Bathroom Etiquette
I put my euro into the slot at the automatic gate and a high-pitched alarm sounded. The gate wouldn’t open so I started fiddling with the coin return button in an attempt to make the buzzing stop! Fifteen seconds of that ear-piercing noise brought out the bathroom attendant who shouted at me in Italian to move my bag. “Can’t you see that your suitcase is too close to the gate and that’s what’s causing the commotion?” he growled at me menacingly.
Big Fat Chicken
I’ve never been very good at confrontations – I get really nervous in tense situations and this usually renders me completely inarticulate. If someone is aggressive or mean to me I dummy-up only to think of a pithy comeback later, when it’s too late.
Parlo Italiano un po’
But something strange happens when I speak Italian; my personality changes and my communications become more direct and my tone tougher. Perhaps because my vocabulary is limited I don’t mince words – what finally comes out of my mouth is basic and instinctual. In Italian, I don’t pull any punches.
The change has come…
Without missing a beat or hesitating one millisecond, it came over me – a reaction as natural and spontaneous as I’ve ever had. “Eh, no, non ho capito perche’ il problema non e’ ovvio, SCUSA!” I yelled back at the attendant, adding the appropriate hand gestures for greater effect. He backed off. Maybe this place is rubbing off on me?