because none of us is fucking up like we think we are, is what i'm trying to say

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Fucking Tourists*

*not fucking tourists like sexy time with the buggars. FUCKING TOURISTS as in SHUT.THE.EFF.UP.AND.MOVE.OUT.OF.MY.WAY.


Look, in the same way that when an old acquaintance emails me on Facebook to say, ‘Hey, long time no speak. What you up to these days?’ and I respond with the dick-like words, ‘I’m living in Rome. Are you still working at Tesco?’ there is no way for me to write the following post without embodying the epitome of pretentiousness.

I know that.

Sorry I’m not sorry.

TOURISTS. Let’s talk about tourists.

I know how to spot you. I know that you are a tourist because your shoulders are pink. You wear clothes too skimpy for dry land- that white Primark Lycra halter-neck shouldn’t be worn to pound the Roman pavements just because it’s 30 degrees. That outfit is for the beach, not the restaurant. And I know you are walking with the limp because the new sandals you got to look trendy for your trip rub, and your thighs have started to chafe when you walk.

I have fat thighs too, so you know what? I do everyone a favour AND COVER THEM THE HELL UP.

You think talking louder means Italians will suddenly understand you, and you don’t understand that if your stop is next on the bus you should already be stood by the exit doors so that you don’t hold the rest of us up half-hanging out of the bus and saying, ‘PAUL. IS THIS THE RIGHT ONE? PAUL!’

Urgh.

It’s not like I have magically morphed into an Italian- bloody hell. I wouldn’t want to. Last week, the man at the flower shop said to me, ‘So, are you a student here?’
I said, ‘No. I work here.’ He looked me up and down- not subtly, it was totally a head whip from toes to top knot bun- and took in my green skirt, sheer pink blouse, orange boob tube and red lipstick. He smiled, wryly. ‘I teach children,’ I added, and he nodded his head, suddenly understanding. Those crazy-dressing bimbi teachers, I could hear him think. As if anywhere else would employ her looking like that.

And yes, my outfit was Primark too. It’s not the origin of the clothes I object to. I’m just saying: an ill-fitting cotton maxi dress does not la dolce vita make. It marks you out as not being from here in all the wrong ways because IT’S UGLY.

Generally, I ignore tourists. I’m always tempted to say do you want a picture with both of you in it? to the people stood in St. Peter’s, or to tap the line of people outside of the shit gelateria on the shoulder, one by one, to tell them the Nutella ice cream is better at the place up the street. But I don’t. When I travel, I hate when people start telling me where I should go, what I should do… I like to figure it out alone. So I keep my mouth shut.

It surprised me, then, when I was at the rice ball shop, and in came a family of eleventy thousand. They all stood blocking the entire counter to look at the deliciousness on sale, saying loudly, ‘EWWWW. WHAT ARE THOSE, THEN?’ I piped up, ‘Rice balls. You should try it. I recommend them- I’m here all the time.’

The family reminded me of my mum’s. Mama Janie is one of five girls, and they cause too much noise and trouble wherever they go. This family was way more embarrassing though, all wearing their ‘best clothes’ for their Roman adventure (read: Marks and Spencer’s crochet scarves and lots of floral) with burnt noses and bad shoes.

‘Oh yeah?’ said one of the overweight women. ‘What’s that one you’ve got?’
‘It’s called Stromboli- it’s mozzarella and tomato. Total heaven.’

They all did some standing around and talking loudly to the guy serving, confusing him and saying things like NO! THE OTHER ONE! WHAT DO YOU CALL THIS ONE? A WHAT? I DON’T KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS! DOES IT HAVE HAM IN IT?

I let them get on with it.

As I cleared my little self-service tray away, though, I ended up at the trashcan right by them.
‘How was that?’ I said.
‘Terrible,’ the chubby one in orange said.
I furrowed my brow. I must’ve misunderstood. ‘You… you didn’t like it?’
The other fat, burned one said, ‘It was horrible. Like a soggy potato.’
I pointed at another woman. ‘Did you hate it too?’
‘Mine was alright, I suppose,’ said one of the men.

I was dumbfounded. I mean, to not like it is one thing, but to be so blunt about it with somebody who was genuinely just trying to help is quite another.

‘Oh. I’m sorry I recommended it with such enthusiasm,’ I said.
‘Well. At least we gave it a go,’ said Fatty.
‘It’s traditional Sicilian fare,’ I said.
The mean woman said, ‘Well. I don’t like Sicilian food then.’
I smiled. ‘Nobody has ever said that in the history of Italy.’
‘As long as I don’t get shot for it,’ she said.

AS LONG AS SHE DOESN’T GET SHOT FOR IT? SHE WAS STOOD IN THE MIDDLE OF A SICILIAN TAKE AWAY CALLING THE FOOD SHIT, TO THE CHICK THAT RECOMMENDED IT TO HER AND SURROUNDED BY ALL THE STAFF WHO COOKED IT!

I shook my head in disbelief.

‘There’s a restaurant on the corner that does omelette and chips,’ my imagination said.
‘Goodbye then,’ I said.
‘SEE YA,’ they chorused.

Total rude fuckers.

I walked out of the shop with my Calabrese friend, shaking my head. ‘I was just trying to help,’ I said. ‘Who doesn’t like Sicilian food?’
‘I know sweetie, they were just dumb British tourists. That’s is why we ignore them,’ she replied. ‘Eat your fried chocolate and ricotta sandwich and you’ll feel better.’
‘Ok,’ I said. ‘Ok.’ And then, ‘I hope their thighs chafe to bleeding on the way home.’
‘They will,’ my friend said. ‘They always do, remember? Now eat. Eat your Sicilian goodness.’

I ate. It was good. 
Share:
Blogger Template Created by pipdig