Saturday, September 8, 2007

Picture This...

La Bimba and I sitting on a bench on a pedestrian street. We are sitting next to an old man. We are eating ice cream. The old man says, "Don't feed it to her too fast it's too cold!" Then he says, "What are you giving her?" I say, "A blueberry." He says, "Don't feed her that stuff. It's all processed!" Then he says, "Watch out! She's eating the cone! She can choke." I say, "It's okay. Look, she's chewing." Turning away (literally turning his back toward me) he says, "I can't look. Too scary!"

La Bimba and I sitting on the funicolare. La Bimba is wearing orange pants, a navy blue sweatshirt, and her new navy blue sneakers. An elderly woman says, "You should put her in a dress!"

I am chasing La Bimba around the field in the Villa Floridiana. It is packed with kids of all ages, including teenagers getting it on. Several groups are kicking balls around. One group of young boys have a regulation soccer ball, not one of the lightweight beach balls that everyone else has. I navigate La Bimba through the play, careful to prevent her from being knocked unconscious by her first inadvertent header. We approach a couple of women sitting on picnic blankets at the same time that a pair of men approach. The men, one elderly, one maybe in his early 40s, say to the women, "Are those your boys? They are not supposed to be playing soccer here, especially with a ball like that. Double rubber. It can hurt a little kid like this one (pointing at La Bimba)." I notice that he men are wearing Vigili dei Parchi armbands, Park Police. Neapolitan Rangers. They proceed to explain to me that it is forbidden to play soccer or ride bikes in the park. I say, "But there is so little green space in Naples. Maybe there can be a set time when kids can play soccer and another time for toddlers to run free." They look at me like I am deranged and a threat to the well-being of my baby. They say in unison, "No signora, it's too dangerous. The park has to be safe for little ones like her (pointing at La Bimba)." They walk away and I sayto the women, "Just want you to know that I had know idea that there were such rules and I think it's a little crazy." They agree saying, "How can they expect young boys not to play soccer?" Then I say, "And it's funny how the Park Police are all up in our faces when the regular police and the carabinieri let all sorts of criminal activity go on uninterrupted." To this they look at me blankly and go back to talking among themselves.

1 comment:

Marmite Breath said...

It's very difficult to be a parent in Naples without having old ladies come and tell you just exactly what you are doing wrong. I could not even begin to tell you how many times I had to stammer, "Va Bene, Grazie" while I walked away hurriedly before they told me WHAT ELSE I was doing wrong with mio caro Tomassino.