A GUEST BLOGGER FROM CALABRIA
Today I'm hosting a guest blogger, Cherrye, who writes about her life as an expat in southern Italy on her blog My Bella Vita. I know I can identify with Cherry's problem, how about you?
You see, you’d think that once you grasped the language, confusion would slip away like the mud packed onto a southern Italian village on a dreary, rainy day. But no. Italians are famous for their body language so it should come as no surprise that non-verbal cues can be just as tricky as their bella lingua.
To Queue or Not to Queue
Although I’ve lived in Calabria for almost four years, the lack-of-a-line-thing still baffles me. Just last week I was at the supermarket in the only checkout “line,” and was all but felt up by an elderly gentleman to the right and a white-haired woman to the left.
“Are they trying to skip us,” I asked my husband.
“Yes,” he nodded as he stepped forward and placed our items at the counter, the Italian supermarket equivalent of peeing on our space.
The couple-I’m convinced they were working together to take out the straniera-stepped back.
Or so I thought.
As we were preparing to pay, I noticed a 20-something year old man leaning over my shoulder from behind the metal bar separator.
“I just have this bottle of Coke,” he said. “I don’t have time to wait in line.”
And instead of telling him to get back in line where he belonged, the cashier looked to the person behind us, who ironically wasn’t the old man or elderly lady who’d been stepping on our heels, and he said yes.
I’ve also been skipped in line by a hurried middle-aged woman who whined about having to return to work, a thin gray-haired woman who pretended she didn’t see me and an over-excited group of teenagers who took over by sheer force.
I’m curious as to whether this sort of thing happens in other parts of Italy or just here in the south? And if it has happened to you, what do you do about it? Do you hold your ground or do you back off and let them ahead?
*Cherrye Moore is a Calabria travel consultant and freelance writer living in Calabria, Italy. For more information on traveling in southern Italy, you can visit her site, My Bella Vita or see her writing on expat life on AffordableCallingCards.net.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kikmoyoo/