Now and then everyone needs a Dutch uncle (or in this case a straightforward Brit) to set her back on the path.
I’ve been doing a lot of internal whining lately. (Note post date) I wasn’t looking for a challenge, I was looking for an experience.
Why should I whine? I have what I want here. I am accepted. I can see it in the ease with which they greet me. More and more of the residents recognize me.
And there is a difference in being accepted and being included. As events go, I think it will be easy to be included. If there is a church happening or a musical event, it won’t be a surprise when I show up. When everyone is watching the
televised soccer match on the side of the building, I can join the crowd sitting at the Gelateria without much notice. This morning when the priest began waving his arms again (this time it was a dog walking calmly up the aisle) the smiles were sent my way, too.
But I won’t be invited for dinner.
No one will think to stop by and ask me if I’m going to mercato. I won’t be asked to join anyone in the evening passeggio (except for the widower who watches for me).
Waa, waa, WAA, waa, waa!
I would love to walk with two or three women, or sit on the steps with the old lady who watches me as I go to my house; but I’m afraid of the language barrier. I can only have a cursory conversation before I am lost. Sometimes I’m lost before I start.
I met Ashley at my first stay here in Scalea (the B & B). I always enjoyed talking with him because he is intelligent and interesting. And his pragmatic views, whether about his ill and aging parents or on local real estate were delivered in a lilting tone.
So when I am whining, in my head I hear Ashley responding to my story of attending the concert, sitting by women, and not talking with them. He went right to the heart of it. “Well, you could have started a conversation, couldn’t you? It’s a way to meet people, isn’t it? You didn’t have anything to lose, did you?”
(You need to imagine the UK accent wherein everything ends with a bit of a question that is actually a statement.)
Well, of course, I know that my pleasure in this trip depends on my own actions and attitude. If I want to be a part of this commune I must be proactive. No time for whining. Time for action.
This evening I walked the Pedonale several times. I scoped out the situation.
I sat near a couple of women, but they were involved and didn’t notice me. I watched another two women walk by and, again, couldn’t get my nerve up. Then I saw a woman walking alone. I jumped up and followed her but before I could get close, she joined the two women. Yikes! I couldn’t quite get myself to stalk three women and break into their conversation.
Then I noticed two women sitting on a bench talking. There was room for one more person so I just plunked myself down. In my best possible hybrid of Italian, Spanish and English I asked them where I might meet women. I told them that I was alone here in Scalea…you know…the whole sad story (in bits, of course). Sure enough, they talked with me. They asked me questions. I asked them questions. We each understood some and misunderstood a lot.
Now I have two acquaintances: Maria and Lavinia. They told me that they go to the passeggio every night and I think they invited me to join them again. I’m going to do it.
Things are looking up in Italy. It’s still pouring rain, but I have an umbrella.