Benedetto’s Rebuttal on Being Directions-Challenged
The very fact that my husband read the recent blog, and then desired to comment, is against his nature of “Do Not Become Involved”. But here is the Italian-American side of the Russian-American family, giving his own comments, which are suspicious enough because all of his arguments are involving places not located in the U.S., and that’s where we do most of our driving, but as with anything his mileage definitely varies from mine….
Naturally, I felt it beneficial to interrupt his recollections from time to time, which would be perfectly natural in any Italian home, but definitely uncultured in a Russian setting, which can only mean that as people begin to resemble their pets after many years together, so also must Benedetto and I be moving toward becoming the Uni-Couple…..
Benedetto: Va bene. (He gets his strong coffee, without which he cannot function.) About my sense of direction? I have a very good sense of direction. There are many times that I drove us directly to our destination without one problem.
Moi: That was mostly abroad.
Benedetto: That is where I feel most comfortable. Don’t get me started on how long it takes an American barrista to make one simple espresso, or how the supermarket fruits and vegetables would not be given to livestock in other countries, they are so bland–.
Moi: We were speaking of your sense of direction.
Benedetto: I will list for you numerous times that I drove us to our specific spot, even in locations where we had never been before. Do you recall when you were in one car with our Italian-Swiss friend, and I was in the other? You were supposed to be leading us to Como? Ah, Lago di Como with pura seta (pure silk) ties, scarves–.
Moi: Our friend is actually Dutch and he was reading the newspaper.
Benedetto: But he’s lived in Italy and Switzerland since a young child.
Moi: He was reading the newspaper. He’s a journalist and TV personality, he’s always reading newspapers. And just as I was trying to get his attention whether we should be turning for Como Nord or Como Sud (north or south), I spied you zooming past us on the autostrada. How was that following us?
Benedetto: You were going too slowly. I had to take matters into my own hands. But the point is, even without your car guiding the way, we still beat you to the agreed-upon meeting place by 10 minutes or so.
Moi: Good. Did you have a coffee?
Benedetto: Firenze. Either from Florence’s Airport or from the autostrada, I can zip right into the center.
Moi: Because of the “Centro” street signs. I could do that. I think I have done that.
Benedetto: Bah, no, it is later, much later when the adventure begins. Need I say, “Fortezza da Basso”?
It was true. A masterpiece of the military Renaissance architecture, that 16th century fort and now exhibition center in the middle of winding streets got me twisted around every time. Before and after that we were generally fine, if you believe that not knowing which side of the Arno River you’re on is fine, which was usually my problem.
Benedetto: The one-way streets, the police stationed to keep out all vehicles at all costs–.
Moi: Wait a minute, I’m generally the one who has to roll down the window and plead our case in Italian, telling them where we’re going, and how we should be allowed to drive in the city, even though we’re not residents.
Moi: Grazie, but most of the time, they’re female police guarding the entrances.
Benedetto: Okay, so I was tired from all of the driving.
Moi: And eating gelati.
Benedetto: San Gimignano.
Moi: Where you thought the carabinieri gave you a ticket, but it was really a retroactive pass that allowed you to drive in the city for the five minutes’ previous? How did we even get into the walled town? Don’t you need a special code or remote control to make the metal pillars retract into the pavement to enter the main gate?
Benedetto: I came in the back way. That’s what all the Italians do.
Moi: And then they get caught by the police and can’t get back out.
My husband went on and on, rivalling me with stories of the dark and stormy night, filled with fog and rain, where we led cars on poorly-marked detours through Tuscany, another foggy night detour from Mantova to Lugano where I was again in another car, but his car beat me to the villa where they were already eating when we arrived, then of course, tooling around Rome….
Moi: And in Rome, you had to ask directions a few times, and everyone in my van noticed that you only stopped and asked men with beards.
Benedetto: They are the most intelligent and reliable (said the great bearded one).
Benedetto: Innocents abroad. Alright, one last one: the Pisa pesce market.
Moi: That’s it, you win. Going over the bridge and around the city, then winding through narrow alleys not wide enough for a donkey, and ending up in the fish market with everything piled on tables, on ice, about the height of the car windows. They moved a table or two and we pulled into our appointed parking space. That was something else.
Benedetto: It was not the first or last time in Pisa, either. And here we are, safe and sound, it all worked out.
Moi: Those were some horrible neighborhoods we went through the other night on the way to Petya’s tennis tournament.
Benedetto: Consider it the scenic route.
Don’t you love the happy-go-lucky, Mediterranean personality?
————-Tags: can husbands find their ways?, driving around Italy, driving without GPS, getting lost in Italy, husbands' lack of directions, Mediterranean personality