Sunday, June 20, 2010

Politics in Italy

I arrived in Italy with the assumption that most everyone I would run into would be to the left side of the political spectrum, particularly among my relatives. It would stand to reason that they would be pro-Obama and pro-public sector, having basically fallen for anti-business and anti-capitalist demagoguery.

I did indeed find that to varying degrees, but not as vehemently as I expected. On our second day in Italy, we were in a small convenience store in Lucca. The owner noticed me conversing in English with my wife Susan and then asking for items in Italian.

Siete Americani?” he inquired.

“Yes, we just arrived from America yesterday for a short vacation.”

“How are things in America? Is the economic crisis very bad.”

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Tender Mercies of the TSA

“If you are traveling with children, please secure your own oxygen mask first before assisting your children with theirs.”

These are part of the rote but necessary safety instructions given by airline attendants at the beginning of all commercial flights. Everyone who travels by air more than once a year knows the entire safety routine by heart, which is why the attendants at Southwest Airlines can get away with spicing it up with comic relief variants, such as one that I heard recently on a flight from Cleveland to Baltimore:

“If you are traveling with children, what were you thinking?!?!””

I got quite a charge out of that one perhaps because of its special applicability to my wife and me. We not only travel with children, but very often with our autistic children, a surefire guarantee to turn any vacation into an adventure.