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October 24, 2005
At a bus stop, an unwelcome surprise
It was a Sunday morning around 9.
Sunday mornings are probably the quietest time of the week in Rome. You could say that all the Italians are spending their mornings at church, but most of them are recovering from Saturday night.
Most everything is closed on Sunday and the public transportation system has a reputation for being particularly dysfunctional during the weekend. Sunday mornings are dead.
I happened to be up at this hour, despite working a long shift at the bar the previous night. I was on my way to Santa Susanna, an American church (Masses held in English) near Termini train station, where I sing in the choir. I looked alright for four hours of sleep, clad in a thin wrap skirt, heeled sandals and a fitted blouse. After leaving my apartment I realized that I had forgotten taxi money, so decided to take the bus, and hoped it would arrive on time.
I was alone at the bus stop, mindlessly gazing at the closed shops and the occasional passing car. Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait too long. I saw the bus appear in the distance. I watched it trudge towards me, and when it was about one block away the most impossible thing happened:
Something grabbed my rear!!!
I stumbled forward, my arms flailing, and snapped out of my Sunday-morning stupor. I spun around to see what had bitten me and saw a middle-aged Italian man shuffling away, shamelessly calling over his shoulder, "Oh, bella!"
I was appalled. Here I was waiting for the bus and this man had the nerve to grab my bum in broad daylight. And not just pinch -- he got a whole handful!
Although my reaction was a little delayed, due to the absolute ridiculousness of the situation, I yelled back at him in the few Italian insults I had picked up from working in a bar. The man moseyed away, with the bus pulling up and swinging open its doors.
The bus driver smirked at me.
Posted by Kelsea at 3:28 PM | Permalink
Sounds like Sunday mornings in Rome are like Sunday mornings in Munich. The only difference is the Germans don't pretend to be in church; they admit they're recovering from Saturday night beer festivities.
I've never been to Italy but my parents went there for their 25th wedding anniversary. They brought back many pictures from Rome; all beautiful. However, the pictures I found to be most breath-taking were the shots from the Isle of Capri. If you get the chance I'd recommend taking the boat trip over there. I don't think it's a very long ride but the destination is more than worth it.
Enjoy your time in Italy. One day you'll look back fondly on the memories.
Posted by: JKW at October 31, 2005 10:33 AM
I am from the Providence area, but am studying abroad in Australia for the semester. But I encountered a similar experience. I yelled back at the man as well, but to one of my Australian friends who was with me at the time it was nothing. At least the men back in the States are courteous, in a sense that they dont touch just hoot. We just have to forget these little things, and remember how beautiful the country is that we have the opportunity to live in. These things make us appreciate home a little more!
Best of luck in your travels!
Posted by: Sarah at November 1, 2005 7:58 PM
I'm Pat's Dad and we've met a few times,long ago in Ocean Park, mostly singing and playing harmonica with your Dad, Pat & Tom.We've heard about your articles from Rome, and I took the time today to catch up with your blogs. Fun! You're doing a great job, both with your writing and the pictures.
Posted by: Arthur at January 16, 2006 9:29 AM