September is a difficult month for me.
It’s hot- summertime kind of hot.
I’m a sweaty Betty.
Students and tourists swarm around the city in differing styles of annoying.
It’s also the season of dwindling melons and a distinct lack of strawberries.
Now we wait for the nice plums, and pears… but for the moment, it’s slim pickings. Apples, oranges… yawn.
Italy isn’t like the Uk, where you buy the same veg year in year out, at exorbitant prices, flown around the world and ripened in the dark.
In Italy, fruit is dirt cheap, local, delicious, massive, ugly and malformed… but you can only get it in season. Which is great, it means I actually eat lots of fruit. But it makes September a pretty shitty month.
But that’s not it.
That’s not why I hate September.
See, September is the back to school month. My shop sells rucksacks and pencil cases. And I…can’t…say…pencil case.
I mean, I know how to say it. I do.
It’s “porta penne.”
But the thing about Italian, I mean, my Italian, is that I can’t figure out the extremely subtle difference between a double letter and a single. It sends me into confusion when a customer garbles their desire for something “rosa” and I hear “rossa”.
The former means pink, the latter red. And I always get it wrong. There is barely a hymen of difference between the two pronounciations, if you’re a fluent speaker. I’m not, so I pronounce each definitely.
So pencil case is porta penne.
Wanna know what it means if I say “porta pene?”
That means penis holder.
I mean right now, I can write penne or pene and I know one is pencil or also a type of tube shaped pasta, the other is penis.
I know that.
But when I have to say it to a customer, I panic. All surety abandons me and I mumble it as fast and low as I can.
When I’m on the spot, I doubt myself and double doubt myself and it’s a very unpleasant situation.
I have told Italian acquaintances about this problem, and they are gobsmacked. How could any0ne confuse the two? They have never confused a single letter with a double. It’s so obvious.
But to me, it’s not. When they say it to me, it sounds just the fucking same.
I could walk down the street and some guy is giving out tasters of some new brand of pasta, and I couldn’t be sure if he was offering me his cock or a free bit of pasta. So I would miss out on the free food and give him an unwarranted look of disgust.
And I could meet a guy at a club and think he’s super hot, and he could invite me to his house for some pasta, and I’m like cool, sounds good, and then I get there and he’s waiting in a sex dungeon. Actually that’s a pretty awesome excuse if I ever get really drunk and go back to some guy’s house and then sober up and realise I don’t like him, and then I can be all like…oooh I thought you invited me here for pasta. Except they never offer me cock, do they? No. They just ask for my knickers and tell me I’m a little steak or a potato. (Aparently little potato means vagina in Italy, but also means a pet name that a dad could call his daughter. WHAT THE FUCK. They don’t see anything wrong with this. I have asked two dads about this. They were confused when I asked them did that not mean vagina. Yeah? So? But… do you not think it’s weird to call your daughter vagina? No… I mean when I call her that I don’t mean vagina. Oh right. Well when I call you an incestuous paedophile, it actually means I think you’re a pretty cool guy.)
So anyway right now, I’m dodging bullets with these customers.
And the worst thing is that the people buying pencil cases are middle aged women with kids with them.
So the stakes are higher if I fuck up.
Although, these kids probably are used to being affectionately called “vagina” by their dads, so why would me talking about dick be any more damaging?
Yeah you guessed it, I have sold fuck all this morning. Call yourself a Saturday? Where are my fellow unrestrained shoppers?
I should change the window display.
Oh man it’s so fucking hot.
I’m going to plait my hair now and have a banana.
(Day 3 of the new diet is going well, I’m limiting myself to as much fruit as I want, plus tinned beans and tuna and shit. Also no alcohol. It’s my own special diet. I think actually the effect would probably be the same if I just ate as much as normal but stopped drinking. But meh, if I have the motivation, may as well use it now.)