Friday, February 23
I sit in the bar trying not to eat my cornetto too quickly. For a brief moment there is nobody else around, the bar is empty.Then the door opens and in walks the local journalist.He lays his newspaper down on my table and ten minutes pass by while we touch on various conversations; funds needed for the excavation of a Roman villa, the local male to female employment ratio and printing out the online newspaper. He leaves to order a coffee and starts up a conversation with someone else.
The door opens. In walks a local woman with a short term memory problem. She selects a paper and sits down in my direct line of vision. I lower my eyes, trying to avoid eye contact with her. Every time she hears me speak she points at me and declares, "a-ha, you're foreign!" She then asks me where I am from and who I am married to. I know she is a devout catholic and I always gleefully tell her that I live with Carlo and have a child too, to which she usually pointedly informs me that she is on her way to or from church.
If I happen to have Skye with me she will, without fail tell me off for dressing the poor child warm enough. "Do up her coat, where's her hat?" I always tell her not to worry, the child is English therefore not likely to become deathly ill without a coat when it is 13 degrees outside.
The door opens, four grey uniformed finance police strut in, chests puffed up, like pigeons in search of crumbs. The local lady jumps up to greet them all. They arrogantly look around, no doubt to see who else wants to greet them with respect. I pretend I haven't seen them and pour another cup of tea.
The door opens, in walks an English expat who likes to pretend she is Italian. I know I have to say 'ciao' to her and not 'hello'. She orders an espresso, sits down and starts working on a crossword. She brought up her daughter speaking Italian, not English, which I couldn't imagine doing.
The door opens and the journalist walks out. Before the door has time to close in walks a small dog. It scurries straight over to the bar and looks around expectantly, then walks over to the door. It stands there, watching the traffic, obviously waiting for somebody.
The tables fill up, coffee is served, noise levels rise. My tea is now cold, my cornetto long gone. I go to the counter and pay, then walk outside into the bright sunshine.
at 5:23 PM