Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Life in Italy, in a nutshell

My darlings, I have something wonderful to share with you today. (I know that about this time you are expecting a post about tempting frappe or those sinfully delectable castagnole, but you'll have to hold off a just a little longer!) This is one of the first, and very few, YouTube videos I will ever post on this blog. Trust me that I would not be sharing this with you if it were not so uncannily illustrative of the soul of the Italian people.

Yesterday, in a small town just outside Naples, a slightly-past middle-aged man was parking his car. Take this situation out of Italy and you're left with an uneventful couple of minutes that will be forgotten before the emergency  brake is on.

But in Italy, nothing is ever simple. And rarely is it boring. Frustrating, yes, gnash-your-teeth-and-tear-your-hair-out maddening, oh, hell yeah. But boring, no.

I know you're sitting there reading this, thinking: a man parks a car, and she thinks it's entertaining? What could possibly happen to make a man parking a car interesting? Could this really be worth 9 (sorry) minutes of my time?

The answer is yes.

This one little video sums up the entire country of Italy. On the surface, it shows how bereft of basic driving skills some of its inhabitants are. But it's much deeper than that. It illustrates the undying bond between an older man and his even older mother. It showcases the indignant outrage that can be inspired in a man who is clearly in the wrong yet blames everyone else around him. It tells of motorcycle gangs who strap whole hocks of prosciutto to the backs of their bikes. It shows how any occasion can be an opportunity to make a dramatic and impassioned scene and how even the simplest tasks cannot and must not ever be completed easily or quickly. It shows how everyone has an opinion on what should be done, yet somehow, nothing gets done. It reminds us that nothing can be resolved without the benevolent help of the Church. But most of all, it shows that Italians, so quick to anger, throw up their hands and scream curses in dialect, are the very same ones who will, a moment later, laugh, cheer and throw you a flower.

P.S. Please note: they are all parked on the sidewalk. Good to know it's not just Rome.
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