Or... When Basic Decency Becomes the Good to Rejoice About
Last week... I was going to pick up Carlo from the station. I stopped at the supermarket to get milk and eggs. There was a long line at the counter. It's rush hour, everybody is trying to get something to go home and have dinner. So we waited. The fake-blonde in front of me waited too. I was happy when her turn came, she didn't have much stuff, I would soon be on my way to pick up my husband who had already arrived and was waiting for me. No. The woman gave a card to pay for her shopping, but the pin number she entered didn't work. So she took out her phone and went pressing some buttons looking for it. She tried one more number. When that didn't work, I was expecting her to take out cash and pay it. No. She said “Can I go to the car and get my husband's card?” And the cashier, not minding the long line, simply said “Yes.” Of course she's fine. She is going to be there doing work and will be leaving the moment shop is closed. She is there doing nothing, better for her.
So we are all standing there waiting for this, sorry to say but “stupid” woman who doesn't know her pin number, okay, you may not know it, maybe you don't use it much, maybe you changed it recently but don't remember what you changed it to, but at least you have a back-up when you go shopping. In such a situation, you pay cash. It wasn't a big amount of money either. 20-30 Euros.
I told the cashier to take my things. “How can I?” she showed the stupid woman's groceries. I said “Cancel it,” I said simply. “When she comes, she goes back to the end of the line, waits her turn and buys them.”
Of course my Italian is not so good. They understand what I am saying, but they also understand I am a foreigner. Of course they do not know I am also an Italian, but they do not care about that. Nobody in that line backed me up.
Meanwhile, the woman came and gave her card. Without saying anything to us, no apologies. As if it is our duty to wait for her highness!
She had noticed our exchange, so she asked the cashier “Is there a problem?” There was no need to answer. And she knew the reason very well. “Is it because of me?”
“Yes,” I said, my tone clearly upset. “We all have to wait for you?”
“Do you have a problem?” she retorted.
“Yes,” I said. “At least you say sorry.”
“It's obvious you have a problem. Where are you from anyway?” she said.
I should have punched her in the face! Such brazenness! What has my being from anywhere got to do with her indecency and bad manners? Not feeling ashamed of one's self, such disrespect for the people she kept waiting for her stupidity. I walked away before I upset myself more. I want my contact with such people to end as soon as possible. I cannot stand them.
I walk away, walk away as fast as possible.
Yesterday I took Carlo to the Emergency. He had fallen down the steps the night before and hit his rib. “What is it?” I thought, “They'll just take an x-ray and see him off.” It took three hours! This is Italy, you see? Everything takes long here :)
So after two and a half hours, I decided to sit in the car and wait. Thump! I jerked thinking Carlo had come. I thought he bumped in the car by mistake. I was wrong. It was a car that was parking that had hit my side mirror. The man raised his hand in apology. I raised my hand to say “No problem.” I was thinking if he could come out from the tiny space or if he would hit the door too when he opened his. He went out from the other seat. I turned back to my book. Thinking our interaction was over.
After taking his patient out from the car, he came over to me and said “Scusi signora.” I'm sorry, lady. I was just so happily surprised. That here was someone who had some manners. Who just didn't walk over other people because they were strangers whom he would never come across again. He had respect and decency. I didn't expect him to do that. He had said sorry with his hand gesture, and I had accepted his apology. Besides, that was an accident, he had not done it on purpose, it wasn't even an ignorance.
Anyway... He made my day. How strange that one is happy for basic decency because “human beings” especially in the big cities have mostly deteriorated into “lower beings.”