Thursday, May 10, 2012

I was drunk when the police arrived
You have no idea how difficult it was to choose a birthday present for my friend Anna Maria, the police officer. I throw in that she is a police officer just because she is a kick-ass beautiful woman who is incapable of not calling it like she sees it, and, therefore, just knowing her increases my quotient of being cool and in gamba. First of all, we were lucky that her daughter Aurora happened to mention to T that it was her mom's birthday because otherwise our Google birthday reminder was scheduled to go off after she had already left that night and I would never have known. Now here you can see  a very Italian feminine behavioral trait in action. She only kept our movie night date because she did not want to have to tell me it was her birthday in the first place. It isn't that she doesn't want people to celebrate her special day because she was absolutely glowing when she told me about how many text messages she received from dawn to dusk, but because she doesn't want to have to tell anyone and then have them make a fuss over her after the fact.

As far as the present goes, my first mistake was that I went to a store and where she and her Charlie's Angels coworker Serena like to shop for these cheerful items from a Spanish fashion brand called Desigual that are covered with stones and beads and sayings in a graffiti type print. The owner knew right away who I had come to shop for based on my description of an Italian Farah Fawcett type police officer. The two bags she showed me were at the top of my price range but the bottom of hers. I had hoped to be able to combine a purse with a scarf and maybe a lipstick or a something to put inside of it, so I told the lady I would be back. Once outside the store, I realized that I would have to buy something from that store if I didn't want my name to be mud there in the future. This is a small town.

Then I went  to the Guess accessories store, where the saleslady ignored me because I was wearing Converse instead of heels. Then one of my former students that work at the Guess clothes store across the street came in and said hello to me. I asked her how the kids were because I got her confused with one of her coworkers and so then I had to hope that she thought I was just calling her coworkers "the little girls" but I screwed that up by using the masculine plural of kids instead of the feminine so her face kind of fell a little bit like a souffle gone wrong and I knew that it was too late to fix it. The Guess girls said they would like me to come visit them in the store even though I don't teach them anymore, but I never do because I can't afford anything in that store and I feel weird. The Guess scarf was really expensive anyway so I found exactly what I wanted to get Anna Maria at another store, but it was not brand name. Si che e' un problema. The Italian women I know here love designer stuff, people.

On a whim, I went to the new super fancy scarf store where I misread the price of a cashmere hand printed scarf that was a buttery nude color with a landscape on it and felt like newborn baby dandelion fluff mixed with Tuscan clouds. It was 98 euros not 38. That scarf was so freaking beautiful that the salesman, who immediately asked if I spoke English when he saw my Converse sneakers, got embarrassed to see that his description of the cashmere refinement process had brought tears to my eyes. Then I thought about how without Anna Maria's help we could never have gotten our Permesso di Soggiorno and wouldn't have been able to live here in the first place so she certainly deserved a 98 euro scarf.  Having learned from past impulse purchases, I went home and F and I talked it over. I decided to get her the bag from the store she likes and fill it with beach stuff so that she got the message that I value her as a friend and would like to go to the sea with her this summer. When you factor in the towel, sun lotion, sun glasses, and spf chapstick that I put in the bag I could have just gotten her the cashmere scarf, but F said this choice was much more Oprah. Yay bancomat cards and magical thinking when it comes to money and birthdays.

Then I met the husband of our pharmacist on the street and in the middle of the conversation instead of saying, "we'll see" in reference to a comment he had just made, I said "we'll be seeing each other/see ya later" just by adding a ci where it had no business showing up. Instead of vedremo I said ci vedremo and therefore he just frowned, looked embarrassed and flounced off. Some days I can't win for losing here. If I haven't slept enough it is best to just hide under the bed and hope for a do-over.

 F was kind enough to come up with a tiramisu dessert and Parmesan popcorn for the movie. By the time she got to our house an hour late on the dot, I was already a bit tipsy. She brought a movie she wanted to show me, but the volume wasn't working so she had to keep explaining things to me until we finally gave up and had girl talk instead. It was very cozy on the lounge, tucked under the covers, sipping prosecco and licking Parmesan off our fingers. She loved the gift. All in all, a success.

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