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This is what happens to people when they keep their chin up....eventually they succeed at stuff....

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

16 I Meet a Brutto




     On market day we wound up taking the bus back to my my Preciosa Italian town which was exactly what I needed. Before this point, I knew nothing about taking a bus to Teramo and now that Stefano is gone, and his car along with him, this is my only transportation back and forth.  

     Francesca bought us bus tickets and took us to the right area of Piazza Garibaldi to catch the bus home to our place. Here we found a bevy of local beauties that belong to our town. Many of them looked like Sofia Loren over the years and with or without makeup. All you need to see in your imagination is a bunch of women with the eyes and shape of Sofia…as if she has a lot of relatives all over the area. I have to admit that everything about Italy is a meditation on beauty.

     Most  of the people I met in the Abruzzo area were friends of Stefano’s that we met while he made sure we had emergency contacts in the area and friends after he left. Stefano was a perfect example of the Italians, a classy gentleman and so were all of his friends that I met, so of course when I spotted a familiar face at the bus stop, I felt safe in acknowledging it. I mean I am 1000’s of miles from home...it was natural to smile and wave when there was a familiar face here, right?

     The guy  was on me in a moment. He ran over and became completely overbearing tugging on my arm, and insisting that I get in his car and go with him now. I was appalled! He was loud and physical and I was mad that I couldn’t figure out how to say “Don’t touch me!” in Italian. He was way too close and way too aggressive. I shrank back, withering instead of growing in stature.

     My first response was to play the “I don’t understand Italian” card. This guy wasn’t like this when I met him with Stefano and the professor. I think that my face must have registered my disgust but he bounded on, obnoxiously pulling on me and coaxing in slick yucky tones I found completely foreign in my experience.

     I was mortified. The ladies I was standing with were aghast. The teen girls, the mothers and the grandmothers all had different stages of disgust on their faces. And I realized that I had invited ugliness into their midst.

     I honestly had no idea how to disengage the man. I am a California woman who has always had a 6’1” man on my arm. No one bothers with me. I had no idea how to say, “Buzz off Mister!” I missed my Rick Steve’s guidebook which believe it or not does have a section of how to get rid of men in Italy.

     In my world, all men are gentlemen and would never behave like some overbearing Casanova from the 1960’s. I have never developed the skills to do deal with this and no ability to be rude in the face of rudeness.

     I looked away and pulled my hand free.

     That was when he started in on Spencer. He kept asking if the boy was my son and asking Spencer to get into his car. I corralled Spencer away who felt completely lost about all fuss.

     That was when Francesca rode to the rescue. Her eyes said so much without words. She told me to not talk to this particular fellow again and mouthed the word “Brutto” which means “ugly.” She chased him away with short clipped sentences while the rest of the ladies shifted into more cool and comfortable positions. Boy these women were savvy!! Even the teens clearly knew better then I did how to deal with ugliness.

     The first thing I studied when I got home was the many ways to say, “Buzz off” and “Don’t touch me!” in Rick Steve’s phrasebook for Italy. I have to say that this small little pocketbook has been far more useful then my class text book which  I left back home in the states!

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry you experienced this, but, as Abraham would say, you must have wanted to go through it by manifesting it. I did try to teach you self-defense...jk. I'm very glad you had someone there to help you. Please take care and "be aware"....

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