Monday, September 24, 2007

"Mind the gap"

As I mentioned in my previous post, I've been truly enjoying my stay in USA for many reasons, but mainly because I'm not squandering my day (and my nervous system) due to disorganization, chaos, and whatnot like I do on a daily basis in Rome.
This morning after reading Shelley's and Michellanea's posts about the frustrations of living in Italy, I feel even more grateful to be in a country/city right now where life is easy & convenient, I also feel compelled to share this picture with you. I took it on September 18th while at the Dream Concert at Radio City Music Hall. I had an all-access pass, hence was in the perfect spot for taking pictures of the performers and guests (Stevie Wonder, Cuba Gooding Jr., etc.) who were arriving for this special event, yet the one thing that caught my eye was this:

It's not the best of pictures I admit, but if you look closely you'll see there's a crowd of people awaiting the arrival of the stars behind the barricades, but as my Italian-accustomed eye noticed, the barricades were missing in several spots (near the bike)... YET nobody even dared to step into the reserved area, people stood along the side of the road in an orderly and civil manner. I was so impressed and blown away by this, it made me so happy to see people who are respectful and law-abiding even when faced with a "hole in the fence".
I pointed it out to the people I was with and they were surprised that I was surprised, their reaction was: "Of course they wouldn't bum-rush the barricades, they know they're not supposed to, plus there are cops on every corner". Bless their souls, I know for a fact (I've worked on big events in Italy) that most Italians wouldn't be as respectful or fearful in a similar situation, in all likelihood they would try to be furbi by sneaking through this gap with no regard for order or the law.

I think I’m suffering from more than a seven-year itch, it has turned into a full-blown ten-year hive outbreak!!!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

My kind of book

I wasn't planning on writing any posts while in the land of convenience and comfort... BUT I came across a book at Barnes & Noble while drinking coffee and flipping through magazines/books for over an hour (it's GOOD to be back in America!) and I think it deserves to be mentioned. It's called The Dark Heart of Italy, I'm only on page 30, but so far so good!

Apart from that, it feels great to be back in a place where I don't have to spend (waste) 85% of my time battling against annoyances, lawlessness, inconveniences, illogicalities, rudeness, bureaucracy, incompetence, inefficiency, and uncivilized behavior.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The million dollar/euro question

This morning I went to the local supermarket (which luckily is open on Sunday) and as I nonchalantly walked through the store I found my flip-flopped feet in a pile of dust, schmutz, and filth that the cleaning woman had swept into the center of the sales floor. I admit, I wasn’t paying attention but that's because I usually assume I can walk around a store without being as observant as I would be on the streets... I was proven wrong. Which leads me to the million dollar/euro question: Why the heck don’t they clean the store BEFORE it opens???
This is an Italian mystery I’ve been trying to solve for ages. How many of you have seen stores being cleaned in the beginning/middle of the working day? I’ve seen clothing stores open for business but with a clerk outside saying “Come back in 10 minutes when the floor is dry”. Gimme a break! I’ve seen cheese shops workers/owners step in front of clients peering at the goods in the glass case so they could wipe down said glass case for a good 10 minutes. I’ve gotten dirty looks and/or been shouted at by cleaning people in stores because I inadvertently walked on a floor that was wet (mind you, there was no “wet floor” sign).
Come on, I worked in stores in USA before, I know the drill. The cleaning people come in before the store opens so 1) the store is clean & shiny when customers arrive and 2) you don’t have a cleaning person sweeping and mopping while customers are trying to walk around and shop. So why can’t they do that here? It seems so logical and simple to me.

***While I’m at it, they also need to learn how to stock up on change and small bills BEFORE the store opens. That's rule #1 in how to run a business- big or small!