Monday, September 24, 2007

Così si offende

I am so wretchedly behind in my blogging. That's because I am applying to doctoral programs in Performance Studies and that's because I am a glutton for punishment.

The other day I was walking down the 80-plus stairs that lead from my street to the Chiaia district, bouncing La Bimba along in her stroller. A woman, who I've chatted with before (her husband likes to try to speak English with me; she, mysteriously, tries French), came out of her basso with her broom. She started blabbing at me in napoletano and then said something about La Bimba looking like someone and that she had a picture of that someone, wait a second, I have it right here, I'll be right back. I wasn't really paying attention (I try not to stop moving when confronted with chatty Caterinas), so I thought she was saying, as many a napoletano has said before to me, that La Bimba looks like one of the kids that was kidnapped in Sardegna or went missing in Portugal. I did not feel like seeing a photo that would then haunt me for the next 24 hours, at least, so I mumbled something about being in a rush, maybe next time, ciao, ciao ciao, ciao ciao ciao.

A few days later, I'm hanging out with my American friend C. and she says, "You really offended that lady the other day, huh?" "What lady?" I replied, not having a clue what she was talking about. "She wanted to show you a picture of her grandson and she said you wouldn't look at it and that she couldn't understand it because usually you are so nice and next time, if you ask to see the picture, she is not going to show it to you."


I consulted with The Husband on this one. He said I should apologize, say I had an appointment and that I was late, that I don't always understand the language, but don't ask to see the picture, ma che te ne frega. I haven't seen the woman since, but I guess I'll apologize even though I don't know her really and I can't believe how sensitive people are.

Which leads me to admit: I am the most sensitive person I know. Every time The Husband makes a comment about what I'm feeding La Bimba, how I'm cleaning something, the expression on my face, anything, and he comments frequently because it's a napoletano habit, he doesn't even know he's doing it, I crumble. I really need to relax. At least that's what everyone keeps telling me. The other day I made spaghetti al pomodoro con ricotta and The Husband, chewing, said, "Ottimo." I usually get "non c'è male" or "buono," but Ottimo! Ottimo is like I have arrived as a napoletana in the kitchen.

The next night I made penne with lox (yeah, let's call it lox!), peas, onions, and cream, and The Husband said, "E' ok." I arrived, and then I left.

In the public elevator that runs from Via Nicotera down to Via Chiaia, a woman told me La Bimba was beautiful and that she no longer watches the news on TV because she can't take it anymore, troppi guai. Non sequitur?


Sharon said...

“he comments frequently because it's a napoletano habit” Ah-ha, that explains everything! I hang out with a Napoletano also and my body relaxed when I read this statement. The old adage ‘don’t take anything personally’ has been taken to a whole new level knowing this guy!

Silvia said...

I have just discovered this blog. It is great! My hubbie is napoletano, too, but we live in the Bronx instead of Naples. This past summer, we spend time in Naples with his mom and sister and Ischia with my family. Being in Naples was an experience! I understand the love-hate relationship with the city and its people. I'll definetely be reading this blog more often and spend some time catching up!

Piccola said...

La bimba is absolutley adorable.

Alex said...

Oh brother! It is time to apologize and see the freakin photo IF she lets you. Living that close it is just easier in the long run. I hate when this happens to me too (and it seems to happen all the time).
BTW, Love that photo of Bimba!