While Tuscany Swelters, We Shop

It’s hot.

Mondays are less fun than the other days in Italy because nothing is open on Monday morning. Don’t try to go to a museum on Monday.

Italians take to the beach. Or are still at the beach. I am the only human in existence who doesn’t find the moist, salt-laden air of the seaside refreshing. It weighs on me like a second, gritty skin.

Enrico has come back to water the garden tan as a football. Of course he went to the beach to baste himself with sunshine. Everyone did. Many cars were mangled on the way. Newspapers are full of the gory details. Italy is the only EU country whose fatality rates are increasing by leaps and bounds these days—but they’re still less per driver than the US, just in case I caught you smirking beside your Hummer.

So we shop. You can’t shop at the little alimentary that you like to shop at on Monday because it’s shuttered. So you go to the Supermarket. No one shopping on Monday in the supermarket speaks Italian.

I’m greeted by a woman stacking hand baskets. They are the same as we get in the US. I lift one off the 4 foot high stack. She issues a warning, “Don’t take that one. I haven’t cleaned it yet.”

She hands me a clean basket. In the US they don’t have someone cleaning the baskets between uses. As a result, you’re better off licking a toilet seat in a bar that never closes than you are using a cart or basket in the supermarket without washing your hands right after. They find lots of kid-slobber on the handles. That’s a fact. I got it off the Internet.

Tourists from the US say food prices in Italy are through the roof. That’s because they’re usually comparing the real food they see in Italian stores with US industrial crap. Yes, a chicken that spends time in the back yard eating natural things chickens normally chow down on and allowed to grow up happy is “expensive.” If you compare that to the bagged, salmonella-marinated industrial chickens when they’re on sale in the US there’s no contest. But you can get an industrial chicken in Italy for a reasonable price. Yes, a pollo busta is a gutted chicken with its legs trussed so you can just season it up and slip it on a rotisserie rod or plunk it into a roasting pan and cook it. No guts to toss. The cost? 3€ for a 1.5 kilo bird. That’s about 4 bucks for a 3.5 pound chicken. That’s not bad. It’d be even cheaper for us USians if our politicians got off their butts and curbed the spending on torture and other nonessential niceties of their expensive and idiotic war, but there you have it.

It’s Monday. I didn’t go to the beach. I get to gripe on Mondays.

While Tuscany Swelters, We Shop originally appeared on WanderingItaly.com , updated: Jul 30, 2007 © .

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