Sunday, February 22, 2009

Accettate carte di credito?

My old man and I are in Venice, finishing out the last days of Carnival. I haven't been to Italy since I lived in Sicily, from fifth to half of seventh grades. (A good movie set in Sicily, by the way, is Mafioso).  What embarrasses me is that I no longer speak Italian.  I also no longer speak French, which is what I spoke when my family lived in Belgium prior to Sicily. When I was little, my sister and I made quite the pair because one of us pronounced foreign words better than the other, who understood what was being said and told the first other what to say.  I know it wasn't that long ago, in the eternal time and space realm, but in those days some people wanted to talk to Americans, some people would tell us what they thought about the world.  In those days Contemporary American Fascism was in its infancy thanks to Ronald Reagan, who greased the wheels for the Bush I and II reign. (I'm surprised II allowed his 19% approval ratings to be published. I'm surprised I can still travel with books containing ideas). In those days my sister was still alive and those days are sadly gone, and I forget who was capable of what, but I am now surrounded by Italians again and find myself quietly immersed in the pasta, the lots of wine, the weird Catholic paintings in which Jesus suckles from Mary's breast which looks pulled off. I wish so badly that I could talk to people--really talk, not just request the dinner check, but find out what's happening in the poetry scene and the like. My old man and I stood outside a restaurant today, practicing how to ask if we can pay with a credit card, only to boldly enter the place, ask our question and receive a response that we totally couldn't understand. The waitress probably said something like, "We accept everything except American Express," and not "Why don't you know more than one language like the rest of the world you idiot American," but I was too dumbfounded to hear anything else.  Although I didn't recover my Italian like I did in my daydream during the flight over, many thanks to Venice for the fox mask and I think I get Fellini now.    

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