Friday, December 23, 2005

Ally McBeal Moments

Such full days, and yet, not really much to write about. Everything gearing up for Christmas. Last minute gift-buying, wrapping, planning worship. These are really wonderful days right now. If rainy. E's last day of school was a week ago. Then it started raining. And raining. And raining. Today was the first day he was able to get outside for any decent amount of time to play hockey.

Just ran an errand to an Italian gourmet deli to pick up one last gift. When I go in the evenings, I'm greeted by a man who speaks Italian to me. It flusters me. Reminds me of my visit to Italy a few years ago when I tried to speak as little as possible, just wide open eyes. Last Friday, he greeted me saying, "Ciao!" then, in Italian as well, "How are you doing?" Then he handed me a free sample of panettone which I immediately popped into my mouth. But I suddenly realized he was waiting for an answer to his inquiry into my well being. And I was frozen in place. It didn't occur to me that I could answer in English, see? Not to mention the hunk of panettone now stuck in my mouth. He grinned and helped me out, "Bene?" Relief flowed over me. Yes! I nodded, then mumbled with my mouth still full, "Bene. Bene."

It was excruciating.

Tonight, he greeted me again. And asked, in English, if he could help me find something. In fact, I did need help, so I said, "I'm looking for the Pasta Party Basket?"

And he repeated, with a sort of exaggerated stacatto with an emphasis on the plosive 'p' sounds, not in a cruel way but as if he were utterly taken by my pronunciation: "Pasta Party Basket."

I rely on language so very much. And sometimes it utterly fails me.

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