For two days in a row I could not get my washer door open and pull out my laundry. So it just sat there. Spencer and I were both baffled after a multitude of tries.
For two days in a row I could not take a hot shower…and boy did my hair show the lack of washing. Instead of becoming glossier and prettier like they say can happen in Mother Earth magazine, my hair had all the beauty of a sopping wet washcloth as it clung to my head.
I have to say I hate admitting I can’t do something myself. It is a Big Leap but one that must take place almost daily for me in this elderly adolescence I find myself lost in.
When the stove flame also dwindled and disappeared on the third morning…and I could not even heat up water in pots on the stove to wash my hair…I had to muster up steam and leave my temporary home looking like garbage.
Now this is a huge thing. My sisters and I do not as a rule leave the house looking like garbage. We like to be somewhat presentable when out in the world.
So here I was in a tiny exotic Italian town looking for all the world like a hobo, or a frump. There was not one shred of cool femininity or class in my shuffle to find Silvio, I couldn’t help but wonder if there ever was any cool femininity in my walk to be honest. Silvio would be able to fix whatever had gone awry in the house. He had already shown me once how to open this washer….he could fix this.
Unfortunately, I found myself in this rumpled state hitting every busy spot in town. I wondered if the kindly locals would take to calling me “the frumpy
woman” when I walked by. California
“Per favore, dove e` Silvio? Conoscei dove e Silvio, o la casa di Silvio?”
Everyone pointed off in a direction and said something like, “You go off at an angle and then in that area, he lives.”
Spencer and I felt this described nearly every house in the village.
On the way through town, we finally found the phantom store of fruits and vegetables we had heard so much about. Well, of course I had to stop, no matter what I looked like. We bought 8 Euros worth of potatoes, strawberries, garlic, onions, zucchini and lettuce. Suddenly we had several meals instead of zero available in the house.
Silvio turned out to be up the street. We asked the ever present trove of handsome older men, who always seemed to be leisurely sitting out front of the Bar, and they of course knew exactly where he was at the moment. They showed us that Silvio was with yet another group of men sitting at a bench higher on the hill.
I slinked toward the men painfully aware of my greasy hair and peeling nose that was still suffering happily from the effects of too much sun at the beach.
Being classy gentlemen, there was no reaction to my inner loathing over my outer presentation. Instead they were behaving like older men of every culture. They were all telling Silvio how best to open my washer and get my hot water going again. I was just grateful that I could get the sentences out cleanly explaining my problemi. I was halting but Silvio knew exactly where to go first and what to do.
Within minutes he had “fixed” all the problems Spencer and I had labored over for hours…no, days. And my savior refused to take any Euros for helping me. I am positive he drawled at me in Italian the equivalent of the western charmer, “Glad to be of help mam!”
I looked in the mirror after he left, alive looking eyes looked at me from under bangs (or British “fringe”), that stuck straight up like an old Barbie doll. I had the distinct feeling that here women don’t have to look like pretty women to be treated respectfully and caringly by the men around here.
I have to say it again,