As I came back from my failed “appuntamento” (appointment) with the garage, I headed for the centre of Rome. We were early July, schools were already in their summer break, so traffic was a breeze. I arrived almost an hour early for my appointment with the physio-therapist. I wanted him to straighten out my back before the start of the holidays…
I walked a couple of blocks and found a bar. Don’t get me wrong, yes- it was early in the morning, about 9:30 AM, but a “bar” in Italy is more a coffee shop than a place where you buy alcohol…
As I was sipping my café, I noticed a “parrucchiere”, a hair dresser, next door. The lady was standing outside, smoking a cigarette, so they could not have been very busy. I needed a hair cut badly.. I asked her if she had time, did not need much of a designer cut, so fifteen minutes would do it.. She looked at me, and said she did not have time now, but I could make an appuntamento for 11:15. That synchronized nicely with my appointment with the physio session, so I agreed eagerly.
After my vertebrae and joints were all cracked back in place, I went back to the hair dresser. I was fifteen minutes early, so she asked me to wait for a bit. I took out my laptop and started working outside, on a bench right in front the shop. “I will call you when I am ready”, the hair dresser nodded..
The next time I looked at my watch, it was 1:15 PM… I had been sitting there for two and a half hours and forgot all about time. Laptop in hand, I stormed back into the shop, to find it filled to the brim with ladies. And two sweating hair dressers… One of them looked at me and shook his head.
- “No time today!”
- “But I have an appuntamento for 11:15”
- [nod] “No time today!”
- “But I came here at 9:30 and we made an appuntamento for 11:15. I have now been waiting here for two and a half hours.”
- “What can I say? No time today!”.
- “But could you not have told me earlier?”
- “What difference would it make? I told you, I have no time today. What more do you want me to say? I – have – no – time – today…”
- “I – say – bollocks – bollocks – bollocks -…”
I gesticulated wildly, raised my voice, and then retreated in apathy, to the great amusement of the dozen later-aged ladies. Who all confirmed what the parrucchiere said: “He has no time today”…
That day, I had three appuntamente. One with the garage, one with a hair dresser and one with the physio-therapist. Only the latter worked out. And he is Belgian.
More about Living in Italy on The Road
Picture courtesy J.Cangiano