Blog posts tagged "story"

The Boston of Italy

November 13th, 2002

Chatting with an elderly gentlman in a suit who is selling me $4.68 in dry socks, he asks, in a restrained diction,

“So….where are you from?”.
I answer, “San Francisco.”; as I usually do when it is simply too much to go into the complicated, multi-coast (multi-continent) story that is the last decade of my life.

“Ahhhh”, he says, drawing it out, as if I’ve confirmed his suspicions. “You don’t, as they say, have the Boston accent.”
I nod, and smile, unclear how to express my deep relief at this relevation to a man who in all likelihood grew up in the surrounding towns.

“And you?”, I ask, “Are you from Boston?”.

“Five generation, but I had the luck to spend much of my youth in Italy.”

“Where abouts?”, I ask.

“Just outside of Florence. Do you know Italy?”
“I spent a little time there 2 summers ago.”
“And did you like it? How could anyone not like Italy?” he says.
“Well”, I say, feeling like I’m not quite tracking this conversation, unnaturally focused on my desire for dry socks. “I found Florence less welcoming then other parts of Italy.”

“Ahhhh.”, and this time it really hangs there in the air, the “Ahhh” pratically a third entity in the room with us. “Florentines do tend to be more reserved. After all, they are inudated with tourists all year long,” (I nod sympathetically), “and, because of their superior education, family, and breeding, they tend to be less outgoing. In a way, they are the Boston of Italy.”

At which point, we are joined by another man asking about umbrellas, and I venture back out into the rains with a new perspective on Florence.

(hmmm….I’m not sure how to format dialogue on the web, perhaps I should ask biella to keep an eye out for an elusive “Manual of Style”, I hear that they are so plentiful in Chicago, they have been declared a pest like New York’s pigeons, and visitors to the city have been asked not to feed them)

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