Today, while waiting for the funicolare in the cool of the Corso Vittorio Emanuele station, an elderly woman stood over La Bimba and said, "She looks just like that little girl they kidnapped from that resort." Then, evidently to make me feel less like running screaming home from the station and locking us in for good, she said, "But that little girl was like four years old."
I grew up in Brooklyn and have lived most of my life in bustling, multiethnic metropoli, mostly in the USA. Naples, despite its growing immigrant population, is a homogenous society. The aspect of its homogenity that continues to be a bitch to get used to is the uniform way the Neapolitan people respond to various stimuli and situations, give or take more or less exaggerated versions.
If it were, say, noon and windy in Manhattan, and I were strolling along with La Bimba, it is unlikely that anyone would stop to say anything about it. If a cross-section of the population at Bleecker and Sullivan or 59th and Lex were to stop and talk to me, I could hardly guess what each would have to say. Take the same scene to Naples and I could guarantee, would bet a lot of money, should find a sucker to take me up on the bet, that a large number of people of different ages and sizes would say, "Shouldn't she be home for lunch? And she's going to get bronchitis! She should be wearing a scarf!"
The woman who told me that La Bimba resembled the little kidnapped girl is just an hyperbolic version of the usual comment, "She is so cute! How can anyone hurt children? Why do they abuse children?"
I'm sorry, I just don't follow, and I doubt I ever will.