Backseat Cussing and Lack of Communication

Posted on March 21, 2011


Dear Shot of Yogurt,

First thing this morning I had a shot of strawberry yogurt to start my day of laundry and cleaning my room. I have turned every other Monday into this ritual of at least changing my sheets and doing some laundry. Soon as I was getting up to strip my bed I heard the door open and heels clacking. It was T and she always seems in a rush but I think that she just moves fast all the time. She asked me what I was doing today and if I wanted to go with her to a large toy store to look for gifts for the boys. I told her I would love to and changed into jeans and pulled my hair back then slopped on some mascara and lipstick while thinking to myself, “when will I ever take a shower today?” By the time I am ready she is having an early snack and on her Blackberry in the kitchen. She doesn’t seem in such a hurry now and tells me that she actually would rather go this weekend with S so they could buy the gifts together. I understand so I tell her it is no big deal. I am about to go to my room to change into something to jog in when she asks me if I still want to “go out” with her to get some meat and look for some other birthday favors for the kids party next week. I agree and put my keys and wallet in my back pocket. I pull my shirt and sweatshirt down over the pockets and we head out full speed ahead. She seriously walks as fast as a person that is 6’4 and she is probably only 5’4.

Our first stop is an electronic shop to purchase some cord for the TV. I am unfamiliar with this cord but do recognize the yellow, red and white cords that go into the TV but not sure about the other connection that looks like a USB port. She chats with the guy and decides to buy. She tells me to just wait there while she runs out the store to hit up the bank next door. I could have lended her the money in my pocket, but like I said, she is faster than I can keep up with. Next, we go to the butcher (macelleria) and decide on some chicken for dinner (once again, not carbonara…I guess I should just forget about it!) I personally still do not prefer red meat and told her no on ragu sauce with ground beef and pointed her towards the idea of breaded chicken. Once the butcher pounds the many slabs of chicken for us and we pay we are out the door like we just stole the meat. I am trying to express how fast this little woman moves!

She then looks to her phone to check the time. Instead of shopping more she tells me that she would rather rest for more than an hour than search for party favors. That is fine by me. Once we get back into the house I change to go for a short jog and tell her that I will be back in less than an hour. I begin a short jog around the neighborhood and decide that I don’t want to go all the way to the park since I must be home and have enough time to shower before we pick up the boys. I run until my side aches and I make myself walk it out. Once the pain subsides I pick up the pace again and make a circle around the block. Once I get warm enough to remove my sweater I realize that I must look funny wearing a tank top in this temperature. People on the street are still wearing puffy jackets and scarves. I make it back to the apartment and take two stairs at a time all the way up to our floor. I always take the stairs this way just to encourage a little work out and skip the elevator.

I don’t have enough time to dry my hair so I am careful not to get it wet during my short shower. I put on my jeans and hoodie and am ready to walk out the door by the time that T is ready. We stop at the paper shop to buy some figurine (calciatori) stickers for the boys and she decided to buy another “book” for the stickers since the boys have quite a collection of  “doppio” (doubles) of players. Their punishment did last for about 6 days, which was really long for children under the age of 8! No DS at all and stickers didn’t come back into their lives until late Saturday afternoon. T knew that if Tommaso saw the “new” book before Matteo he would go crazy and it would make them late for his dentist appointment. T went and got the car and I ran upstairs (two at a time, again!) to put the new book on the table for when Matteo and I got home. A few minutes later T and her mother pick me up outside our building at the paper shop. The honking and hollering starts and T looks back at me in the backseat and laughs while she tells me, “you can learn A LOT of bad words in the car!” I laugh and tell her, “this I know! It is true…I know a lot of them but I don’t use them!” By the time that we get both boys in the car and we are driving back home I hear some “bad words” come out of Matteo’s  mouth and I tell him not to say that word! He whispered, “stronza!!!” in my ear. But the thing about when children under 8 “whisper” they are actually talking louder than they realize. T whips around from the front seat and tells him NOT to say that word! Stronzo/a is sort of slang for many bad words in English; bastard, bitch, son-of-a-bitch and it can also be used like ” piece of shit.” Still unsure what Matteo’s use of the word was but I am leaning towards “bitch” since he made the word feminine (stronza)  FOR ME! He also told me in this moment that he was the king and I was ugly so I am almost positive the 4-year-old meant stronza when he said it to me.

Once we were home I made him a snack and he ate it all while he happily stuck his new stickers in the new book. I let him do this until he got bored and made him promise that we would color and make new English cards with all the animals. We had a good time coloring and practicing our English (and my Italian) for a good hour. I brought my phone out to the table while we were coloring since I was expecting a call from mio ragazzo. Actually, more like hoping for a call. I only get either one phone call or one text a day from this guy. At first I was okay with this and I understand that he is busy at work (especially now) but I am bored and anxious waiting around for him. I also only get to see him once or twice a week, which again I am bored and anxious without him all the other days. My phone rings 5 minutes after I decide to bring it out. I knew it! And Matteo starts to dance to the ringtone, man, I love this kid. I go to answer it and he points to himself. I shrug and hand the phone to him to answer. He smiles and says, “ciao” very shy like and has a short conversation with him. I am laughing when the phone is handed back to me. We have a short conversation and the next thing I know he has to go back to work. And he hangs up. This is how many of our conversations are. Fast and short and “talk to you later.” That was around 6. I probably won’t hear back til after midnight when the restaurant closes or quite possibly tomorrow on his way back to work. People are just not attached to their phones the way that Americans are. When I am walking around people are not constantly on their phones or texting all the time. I have only seen ONE person steering their scooter through traffic while attempting a text message! My only conclusion for this lack of addiction to ones phone is to preserve the “Italian time.” If everyone was always on their phone and speaking to one another every second of  everyday than no one would be late all the time. It Italians alerted everyone that they were running behind than Italians would technically be on time. This will never happen and I can’t change this so I need to stop expecting those calls and texts to be more frequent.  


Posted in: When in Rome