As much as I’d like to resist negativity around here, I feel obligated to share with you the story of a young neighbor of mine …. This isn’t a good story, and it isn’t for the faint of heart … so proceed with caution.
I met this lady (the word “lady” is being used loosely here) shortly after I arrived in Catanzaro. She is 28, and she is a “friend” of my boyfriend’s family, so I just assumed I would like her. You know how sometimes you get a “sense” about someone and you just instantly really like them? Well this DID NOT happen to me. On the contrary, I instantly disliked her. But I am easy-going (sometimes) and decided to give her the benefit. I withheld ultimate judgment until I had been around her several times. And … well … what if I tell you about my experiences with her? Then, you can decide for yourselves how you think I should proceed.
1) The first day I met her, she gave me the “Italian Once-Over” and proceeded to speed through the Italian language like Michael Schumaker in a Formula One race for Ferrari. (Normally the Italian Once-Over-when you are looked up and down and then back again-is accepted, hwever, she is not Italian so I can easily take offense to this.) Additionally, being a non-native Italian speaker, she should have known better than to speak so quickly to someone trying to learn the language.
2) On this same day she proceeded to flirt outrageously with my boyfriend right in front of me. Like the “Italian Once-Over,” flirting is accepted. I actually believe it is, apart from soccer, the favorite national pastime. However there are ways to do this with class. She didn’t do it this way! Still, this is the day I gave her a free pass.
3) For a couple of days in a row she came over right around dinnertime. Well Pep’s father is a sweetheart, and he feels it is his duty to feed the world, so she was invited to stay for dinner both nights. I managed to choke down my pasta the first night without incident. The second night-not so easy. She was here about an hour before dinner and we were having pretty fluid conversations. Peppe doesn’t have dinner with us on nights he goes to work, so he wasn’t there when we were having our “fluid conversation.” She understood, I would say, about 90% of what I said.
As soon as Peppe walked into the kitchen she walked over near him and said, “What is she saying? I can’t understand her at all!”
So I repeated it. “I don’t understand her, Peppe….”
Pep repeated what I had been saying. “Ohhhhh – now I understand….” That was her last chance. After this she earned herself the nickname PdP.
PdP actually stands for something, but I just can’t bring myself to post such things on the open internet … let’s just say the first “P” is an Italian word that would rhyme with ruttana.
4) Since then she has come over, uninvited I might add, several more times. I refuse to let her raise my blood pressure, so I either leave the room or refrain from making eye contact and talking with her. I can’t make her not come over anymore, but I am not going to make her feel more comfortable. During these unexpected visits, she has followed Peppe outside when he is working, hung around talking to him or just sat here in silence for a long time. When she “followed” him outside, I let her.
I’ve already won, and I am not going to get in a battle with her for his attention. (I did, however, tell him about her “convenient disability” to understand me when I speak Italian. He hasn’t been as friendly to her since then, either … bravo for him!)
5) As if all of this isn’t enough … yesterday she told Pep’s dad that she found a home for Sophia! (If you haven’t read the post about Sophia, she is the cutest puppy EVER and she just showed up on our balcony last week. We have named her, fed her and given her a new bowl … Sophia has a home!) She said she told the people she works for about Sophia and they really wanted to take her.
6) So TODAY, she brings the three little boys she babysits over to visit with Sophia. She calls MY dog from the balcony where I live and entices the puppy to follow her. After the children leave, she comes over (you get the picture here) and tells Pep’s dad, “I am going to SELL the dog!” So much about her NOT getting my blood pressure up … My hands are still shaking thinking about it!
She sat here for about 20 more minutes,watching me type this, by the way, and finally said, “Cherrye, what are you writing?” I looked at her and said in my best Italian, “Oh, don’t worry … you wouldn’t understand!”