Sunday, October 17, 2010

Day 19 All bran

I breakfasted on a small bowl of All-Bran per la mia regolarita (don't ask!) as the box promises, and followed that up with one of the remaining sfogliatelle housemate Frances brought back from her trip to Naples.

Afterward, I thought I'd go to the store and get a few things, thinking they'd be open in the morning on a Sunday (wishful thinking), if not in the afternoon. But I was wrong, as Frances had warned.

On Via Roma, Martignano's main street, everything but the four cafe/bars, Roxy's rosticceria and the church were tightly shuttered. (Just about every one of these towns around here calls its principal thoroughfare Via Roma. Who know? Maybe a thousand years ago, the roads really did lead to Rome.) 

At the intersection in front of each of two cafe bars, situated kitty-corner to each other, stood a throng of middle-age and older men. You'll find such men there just about at any time of the day and late into the evening, hovering around the doorways or sitting on chairs at tiny bistro tables, which they occupy smack on the narrow sidewalk so you can't get by.

They've seen me and my three housemates walking around for several weeks now. If they haven't seen us they sure know about us. In a place where fewer than 2,000 people live, word gets around about strangers pretty fast. Nevertheless, once again they stared at me as I went by, as though ET had suddenly appeared among them.

In the past, I have turned in their general direction and called out a cheery buon giorno or buona sera. Some returned the greeting, others didn't.  But today their rudeness just pissed me off. What's even more annoying is that I recognized one or two of them as people from whom I have elicited a greeting and a smile when I've crossed them by themselves on the street.

What I'd like to know is what goes wrong with their brains when men gather in groups?

I came back to my room and buried myself in a book, waiting for the grumbling thunder, thundering under bright blue sky, mind you, to morph into a downpour. It never did here, although it flowed heavily all day for Frances and Shay, who'd gone to Otranto.

But by 4 p.m. the sky was silent, and Barbara and I took a walk through some back roads. It's strange how nature, even cultivated nature like olive groves, can chase away the Sunday blues and restore the quiet inside.

An ancient olive tree stands by the roadside watching  the world go by. I bet it could tell some whoppers.

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