Thursday, March 10, 2011

One Sad Dad o Democrazia in Action
We missed the meeting of the year at school! . . . And that's a good thing.

There was a cryptic notice that went out last week saying that there would be a meeting on Saturday afternoon to discuss changing the schools hours, but because this was the Saturday before a three day school vacation and we had dinner guests, including our friend Paola, a-coming we decided, like many others, not to venture out. Paola was fired up on the proposed topic for the meeting and was determined to attend.

It all started with this one dad who got himself elected the head of the parent committee and had proposed not having school on Saturdays. GASP! Hooray! Right? No, that would be wrong, very wrong. It seems that to make up the hours of no school, the kids would then have to show up a half an hour earlier at 8 AM and stay half an hour later until 2 PM. Therein lies the rub, because the kids only get one ten minute break the whole day as it is and don't get to eat lunch until they get home and someone cooks them an extraordinary something from scratch (we love you F). With this new system the kids would get two ten minute breaks to stuff some foccaccia into their faces which would ruin their appetites and the family meal and any chance of seeing many of their fathers at home for the intervallo and also screw up their chances to getting to any after school lessons or events. Paola whose son is elementary school-aged was up in arms because this system would be particularly impossible for parents of two.

At one point Paola, who had figured out both that the form that the Bad Dad wanted everyone to sign off on was not just to affirm their presence at the meeting, as he had indicated, but to vote in favor of his proposal and that Bad Dad really had gone to an awful lot of trouble to make sure that he could take his kid skiing every Saturday without missing school, had steam coming out of her ears. This dude had the nerve to tell a pack of Italian parents not to think like a herd, and to think for themselves so that his proposal could get the respect it deserved. That did it. Paola grabbed the mike and  made some hand gesture that I have never seen before or since involving the fingers on the left hand all touching at the tips and then a strong downward thrust which I have to guess is the genteel way of saying, "and but who the %$#$^ do you think you are?" Then she asked if her daughter and all the rest of the children should starve and wreck the integrity of their family meal just because this guy had lift tickets.  Apparently at that point all the rest of the 25 or so in attendance leapt to their feet in howls of applause. Dad is sad. Very, very sad. He had a bad day. What a day Dad had. -- Dr. Seuss.

I was particularly glad not to be in attendance when I heard that the mom from Ireland with the three gorgeous red haired girls who have lived here for 8 years now and started speaking fluently ages ago made the comment that lots of other places in the world survive quite nicely not having school on Saturdays.  Well, along with being stunningly unflappable and having the admirable midsection of a lady who teaches belly-dancing (she really does) for a living, that took some balls, my friends.  The Italians were quick and kind in striking her down by making an awkward us vs. them type argument about how expats are so silly because they don't understand that the schools they are probably referring to are "ben organizzata"/well organized and so have no business in a discussion of the Italian school system. This is the kind of bitch slapping slash complimenting that makes me mega uncomfortable, but the upshot was that there is about as much chance of us getting to turn the alarm clock off on Saturday mornings or watching Italian cartoons in our underwear while drinking chilled designer beers as there is that the pope will come to our place for one of F's vegetarian extravaganzas.

Ahh, Satuday. Enjoy it, if you still have one.

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