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The Mayor, the Policeman, and the Termosifone

October 30, 2010 in spazarific

So I’ve applied for my residency here in Terracina. It. Has been. A wild pain in my ass. This, despite being an Italian citizen. This, despite speaking Italian. This, despite making the request with my native Italian mother in tow. Sorry, the man you need to speak to isn’t here today. Oh, well, actually, he is but, sorry, this office is closing in about an hour for siesta so you’ll have to go to the other office. No, we meant the other one – all the way across town, in the antique city, so you’ll have to climb up the big hill. What? Who told you that? You have to go to the province’s capital to get this done. I mean, the hospital. I mean, the province’s capital. No, we don’t have the phone number of that office, but we do have the address of the financial bureau in another town; here it is. Listen, just be grateful I gave you that information at all. Were I to write an article about the bureaucratic system in Italy, I’d call it: Does Anybody Fucking Work in This Country?

But the request gets made. Eugenio, my neighbor, used to be a CPA so he says he can help me get my codice fiscale – the equivalent of a social security number – so that I don’t have to go to the province’s capital or the hospital or whatever. However, I’m supposed to wait at home all day, every day, until someone from the city comes to my apartment to verify that I do, in fact, live here. That’s great, says my mother. Good to know that there’s some control about who comes in and out of the city. I agree – it’s awesome that I’m housebound until who knows when. Good thing I work from home, although this does mean I’ll have to actually put on clothes just in case the city official pops in. The sindaco, that is. I’m waiting for the sindaco.

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Life In These Here Hills

October 6, 2010 in Ex-Patriate Games, spazarific

It’s 1 September, the night before I leave for Dublin. I’m having an arrivederci dinner with my upstairs neighbors – parents of the screaming Giada. Maria says it’s her mission to find me a man. She says this over spaghetti alle vongole, as Giada grabs fistfuls of table and kicks her feet towards the wine glasses. A glint comes into Maria’s eye. She says: “I have it. The perfect man for you. Stefano.”

“What? No. Not Stefano,” says Eugenio.

I’m not interested in a set up, not even in the slightest, but Eugenio’s note of alarm intrigues me.

“Why?” I ask. “Who is Stefano?”

“Never you mind,” says Maria. “I’ll take care of everything.”

So I go to Dublin and finish my thesis and get drunks lots. 20 September, I get back to Italy and listen to the crickets chirp; watch the waves lap at the sad, empty beach. I’m back a day when Maria invites me to dinner. Pizza night; Eugenio’s brothers are coming, too. At 8:30, I put on a clean shirt and follow the smell of melted mozzarella upstairs. I meet Eugenio’s brothers. Their names are Daniele and Stefano. Stefano. Stefano. We drink wine; Daniele and Stefano are both shocked that I’ve lived outside of my parents’ house for the past 12 years. At the end of the evening, Stefano says: It was nice meeting you. Maybe I can see you again one of these evenings. Stefano is in his late 50s. Goddammit, Maria.

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Back in the Drivers’ Seat: Day Three

October 1, 2010 in spazarific

Instructor: [slap] Why why why are you going to the left?

Myself: Because there’s a trash bin on the side of the road and I’m afraid of hitting it.

Instructor: That doesn’t mean you have to weave all over the place. Stay straight! You need to look straight ahead! You almost hit that oldie. Madonnnnnnnnnnnnna. Why? [slap]

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