Naples: Living on the Edge

Posted on September 1, 2006


 ischia tax.jpg

tracie b. currently reports from Ischia

See, there was a taxi today. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and say that maybe, just maybe, he didn’t realize that the nerve he was dancing on was my last one. It had been worn bare in the past few days by other Italians and was connecting my tact and patience to my mental health by just one skimpy thread.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I know that America is full of tactless people who push and shove and bully to get what they want. But Italy is fuller. Ohhhh lawdy is it full. FULLFULLFULL.

Now I understand that the fact that I am driving around tight curves at a normal speed would be enough to make any Italian lose his 2 marbles, but the fact that I actually turned on my blinker 30 meters in advance of my anticipated left turn, and had the gall to actually slow down 5 meters ahead of said turn, well, that was the last straw. Me and my prudent driving are so intolerable, in fact, that he JUST HAD TO TRY TO PASS ME ON THE LEFT WHILE I WAS TURNING.

I’m sure that those extra 30 seconds he would have saved if he hadn’t had the misfortune of driving behind someone like me would have changed his miserable life.

I yelled a few things at him, like, "Hey! Didn’t you see my left blinker? Why you gotta try and pass me on the left? You’re going to cause an accident!" Yep, I toooooold him.

He called me a brutta scema (ugly idiot) and continued on his hasty path, completely oblivious of the fact that this was the last in a series of rather unpleasant, recent experiences that I’ve had with an intolerably large percentage rudeness. If he were either a) on his way to work, or b) waiting on a customer in a store, he would have been much more relaxed because these are the situations in which Italians have no rush at all.

You can send me ugly comments telling me not to generalize all you want. I’ll invite you to come to the grocery store with me and "wait in line" at 1:00 in the afternoon, and we’ll see how full of sugar and spice you are when you come out. Then I’ll tell you to multiply that experience by 3 years and you’ll BUY my ticket back to Texas.

Please don’t tell me to leave if I don’t like it here, ’cause I love it. Most of it. And when Italians AREN’T busy being late, being pushy, yelling, honking, paying slave wages, and skipping poor unsuspecting Texans in the deli line they are sweet, generous people.

Except for the taxi driver. I have it on good authority that he was born from the womb of a rabid jackal.

Photo credit: Giuseppe Scogniamiglio