Tuesday, August 7
This morning as I was walking back home from the vegetable shop, down the narrow alleyways and endless steps, I met a lady from Rome and her husband. I had given the lady a pedicure a few days beforehand and we had chatted for over an hour (in Italian) while I worked. This morning she was standing at the bottom of a set of steps that led up to the top of the town where there are a few small shops.
"Look!" said her husband, pointing to me, "don't you know that girl?"
She saw me and waved me over. "Hello! Do these steps lead to the saucepans?" she asked me. (She used the word tegame.)
"Saucepans?" I repeated, wondering if I had heard wrong.
"The saucepans. Are they this way?"
I decided that I had heard wrong. What could she be looking for, I thought? Maybe tegame is a Roman dialect word for something...maybe she just means the top of the village... As I hesitated in replying her husband waved me away with his hand and said to her, "She's a foreigner, she doesn't know."
He knew very well that I had been living here for years, but obviously was one of those men who has met few foreigners in his lifetime, and maybe couldn't quite believe that a foreigner could move to a new country and learn the language well enough to communicate. I, on the other hand, couldn't quite believe that someone had actually asked me if these steps led TO THE SAUCEPANS. Not "is there a shop that sells saucepans in this direction?" but simply, "is this the right way to the saucepans?"
I wanted to prove to the man that I could understand and speak his language very well so I hurridly told them that if they climbed the steps and turned right they would arrive at the top where there was a bar and a selection of shops. They thanked me and waved me away.
As soon as I got home I checked the word tegame in the dictionary, but I was right, it meant pan. I was still half convinced that I had heard wrong or that the word had a different meaning in Roman dialect but there was nothing more I could do...
Until I saw the couples daughter on the beach a few hours later.
"Um, I saw your parents earlier, they asked me if they were going the right way for the saucepans...is that possible, or is my Italian not as good as I thought?"
She laughed. "Yes, you were right, my mother was going mad because she didn't have the right sized saucapan and decided to go and buy one."
I am glad I asked, because I have learnt something new. I can now try it out on other people. Just imagine the fun I can have...
"Excuse me, is this the way to the french beans?"
"Hello! Do these steps lead to toilet paper?"
"Tell me do, is this the road for a vodka martini?"
I can't wait to try it out.
at 9:51 PM