Sunday, September 20, 2015

I can't/non ce la faccio
I was dreading the visit from the airconditioner repair man for many reasons. First of all it necessitated my having to bother my landlord again by text message. Secondly, it meant I had to cold call an Italian receptionist which is one of my least favorite things to do in life. I managed to make the appointment and to convey to the landlord that it pains me to know my upstairs neighbors' sex schedule due to the thin walls. The airconditioner repairman told me that all new construction in this city has that same problem. This is epic news because Italians do it like bunnies. Anyway, I knew this particular repair guy was going to be trouble because he seemed like the sort who has to find problems to justify his existence to his boss. He misinterpreted the yellow paint that is peeking through the white under the airconditioner as proof of a leak in the wall for starters. Then he broke a shelf in our little terrace shed and decided that the real problem was that the air compressor out there is filthy. To be fair, that was part of the problem, but it was worsened by the fact that he slammed down all of the dirty bird feathers and crap in there and then waited for me, the little woman, to clean up after him. And that was only after he dropped his paint brush/bird crap cleaner, down into the patio space of my neighbors below. After all this, we did a song and dance about how he doesn't accept payment up front and how I refuse to pay for this operation that has to do with a situation that pre-dates my tenancy. I called the landlord, but his momma didn't raise no fool, so he didn't pick up. I then texted him to say that while I will have to listen to porno soundtracks until I get a new apartment, I will not pay for the airconditioner repair. Of course I used different words. I'm sure my Italian was also flawless.

This week also had me observing an English lesson taught by a future colleague of mine at the new English school. It was boring as dirt, If I'm going to be honest. The teacher was a very moisturized and nice smelling fellow from California who seems kind and is philosophically opposed to correcting his student's pronunciation mistakes because he doesn't want to inhibit his flow of speech. This made things awkward for me as he was to evaluate my teaching of the same student in the following hour. It was my big test to see if I get the job that I think I already got by being F's wife who already got the job and is driving me to the company where we will work as a kind of tag team. The student was a gray fox of a certain age named Giulio. I liked him and he was an easy student, albeit with a host of pronunciation problems that will go forever uncorrected. My biggest stumbling block is that the lessons are split between the student's book and a laptop that I can't read. I have to use the magnifying glass feature to read the text and the little white glove icon to scroll down the page. The little white glove seems not to like the magnifying glass so I had to choose between arriving at the right question or not being able to read it because the print was too small. This led to some improvisation on my part. I think I talked too much for Mr. California, but I am praying that he is also philisophically opposed to throwing potential future colleagues under the bus.

If I wanted to be accomodating, I would have been born a couch.
T got invited to a birthday party for her friend Giorgia's brother. The lucky duck had his party at a rented a villa with a pool with six dozen or so of his closest friends.  I think we have officially become parents of a teenager with a social life that surpasses anything we ever got to do.

If there is a pool and you are 18, it doesn't matter if it's September.
the man of the hour
T also joined the school newspaper. This is not only a good extracuricular activity for her college applications, but, in practice, it is where the intellectuals of her school gather in an abbandoned building with vodka and cigarettes. To paint a clear picture for you, this is a situation in which people wear berets without irony. It is a given that they will hail her as their queen because she can write the English column that will give their little project credibility and panache. I spent three hours not finding her suitable t-shirts or a party dress at H&M, which just goes to show you that 37 hours of back to school shopping during the summer will not save you from hearing the dreaded words, "Mooooom, I have nothing to wear."

Also, there is this weird guy that T complains about who whenever he sees her walking on the walls or in town, greets her like he knows her well. He doesn't. And his not a kid. He is like 30 years old. He is always with some older guys who may or may not be Italian. Maybe they are some older guys he works with. He always points at her as if he is telling his friends that he bets he can get her to wave back at him. It is some sick perverted game he probably plays on girls all day long. Anyway, I have been after T to identify him to me. We were in town on a super humid day before school began and she spotted him. And he did his creepy thing. She didn't want me to confront him at first but I wanted to see his face. I asked him for the time at first just to get a visual. I was shaky and weird, I admit it. I really hadn't spoken any Italian to speak of for three days going into this moment. I went back to T, but she seemed surprised that I hadn't confronted him and I didn't want her to feel unsafe so I doubled back to confront him. I told him that he has been upsetting my daughter and that she is only 15. He immediately went crazy and told me that I was wrong about him because he was from Bangladesh and not from Romania. So many folks are super pregiudiced against Romanians here who they believe are thieves and job stealers. In other words even if they get honest jobs, they are thieves. Anyway, I told him I wasn't racist and didn't care where he was from only that I wanted him not to look at my daughter. At that point, one of the older men told me that I was a crazy mother and grabbed my arm and started to shake me. I started screaming hysterically and went to get the police. The police were doing some kind of a bust and said I had to wait. They never came back and the guys got away. It was a fantastic performance, in which I made things worse for everyone. But I tried.

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