Has anyone else ever noticed how incredibly active Italians are well into their old age? I don’t think I have ever met a lazy Italian! Okay, maybe a few, but not many. If they’re not up at 7:00 a.m. to buy the freshest bread in town, then they are out walking along the seaside with their friends or hiking up some impossible hill to get a better look at a remote church.
Today, I skipped yet another hike. It was a beautiful day, but I just didn’t feel the pull to be out all day going up another Ligurian slope with promises of a great view and a church. I know, how incredibly lazy of me! But, I’m out of the house six days a week doing various things besides work and so I like to just hang out in my own headspace sometimes and Sunday is the best day for that sort of thing.
But the thing that perplexes me the most about Italians is the oxymoron of their lifestyle. Everything they do seems so contradictory to me. For example, they take three hour lunch breaks but then drive like speed demons in a big friggin’ rush to get where exactly? And they happen to be the most patient people on earth when it comes to cooking and eating but anything else, well, forget about it! Red traffic lights are merely a suggestion after all.
And my favourite habit of all time are all the double and triple parkers. If you are ever in need to find a pharmacy, look no further than the cars stopped in the lane way with flashing four way lights. In Toronto, those lights are a beacon for all tow trucks within a thirty kilometer radius to come tow your car away. But this sort of illegal parking is completely ignored by the polizia and just annoys the rest of us who have to merge left to continue on our way. I understand Liguria has a big space issue and that parking is not always readily available, but if an 80 year old Italian granny can walk six blocks to get fresh foccaccia for breakfast then she can also walk the six blocks to the pharmacy too. Especially considering that here in Liguria there is a Pharmacy on almost every corner block.
My theory about the people here is all about artichokes and pleasure. Simply put, Italians have a ton of energy from eating all those healthy artichokes and when fresh foccaccia is the goal then they have boundless energy to enjoy life’s pleasures. Anything else that needs to be done that is classified as unpleasant, like a visit to the pharmacy, well double-parking is completely acceptable and forgiven.