So I’m in my shop, minding my own business as usual.
The shop is empty.
In the open door stomps a short 30 something with her phone glued to her ear. She guffaws and bellows down the phone, a whole stream of irrelevant gossip about people I don’t know. I instantly seethe with hatred. She has punctured my solitude and not even offered me any company.
She’s not the only one- so many ignorant cunts enter my shop mid conversation to seek refuge from the noisy street for their personal calls. And she’s barely disguising this ploy with the usual cover up of looking around the shop and fingering bags and trousers on the rails. That throws me off the scent for a bit, so I can’t rage for fear of losing an actual customer… but this inconsiderate wench isn’t even paying lip service. She can’t even afford me the basic courtesy of leaving doubt as to whether or not she’s using to shop as a customer….
I’m pretty annoyed because she’s here for like 5 minutes and her voice is grating on me.
So I do what I always do when I’m feeling like my sanctuary is invaded- I put on some loud motherfucking music and wait for my subtle hint to wash over the non- customer as she struggles to carry on her convo, until finally she scurries out shooting me an offended look.
He he he.
I put the plan into action and instantly feel beads of embarrassed perspiration form on my brow. Eck… I do hate this. It’s such an awkward moment when she realises I’m telling her to fuck off and take her bullshit phone call elsewhere.
I see her face register my vibrant 90s choons.
She turns to me, telling her friend to hang on a second. She advances on my till…
Confrontation! Shit! I’m about to be called rude or something. Agh not prepared for this! Abort! Abort! It’s too late to abort mission. I have to stick to my guns and hope she doesn’t call me on my antisocial behaviour…
She stops at the till as the shop’s airwaves fall back into flatline silence.
Calm before the storm?
She smiles, probably in a confrontational manner.
I grit my teeth into a nice salesperson grin.
“Can I just ask you something?” she barks…
“Yeesss..” I whine back placidly.
“It’s just… did you put on that music?” she narrows her eyes. Oh no oh no oh no I don’t want her to call me rude, that would ruin my day. I’m pathetic, I know. I hate everyone but I can’t bear anyone not liking me.
Her face erupts into an agressive type of smile.
“Oh my GOD please tell me what this song is called? I have been looking for it for YEARS! I love it so much! I can’t remember the name, but I absolutely LOVE the song!”
Oh. I see. She’s just a loudish, aggressive person, she’s actually being friendly.
I write “King of Rock and Roll, Prefab Sprout” on a card for her. She thanks me radiantly…then continues her obnoxious conversation to the background of a very loud “hot dog, jumping frog, albequerque!”
Then leaves, thanking me again, profusely, enthusing to her unseen friend about how happy she is to know the name of that song.
I am a little thrown by this exchange, mostly because I realise that I was being a dick. But now I feel good because I reunited someone with King of Rock and Roll and I didn’t get some earful of abuse from an asshole, which would have pissed me off big time.
I was all happy and decided to stop being so fucking hostile to everyone who behaves outside of my rigorous behavioural code for humanity, and the phone rang.
“Hello, I’m blah blah blah from blah blah blah, can I speak to whoever is in charge of telephony in your company?”
This means, telemarketer for a phone company. The reception is shockingly bad, I can barely make out what this call centre slave is running together in one breath, but I know it’s the same bullcrap special offer from one of the 3 operators we have already tried and left because they were shit and expensive.
“sorry, what is this regarding?”
“I want to…. xxxxxxxxxx (muffled noises)… offers and promotions… xxxxxxxxx your supervisor?”
“Sorry, the boss isn’t here now.”
“fine. Have a FANTASTIC day, you’ve been EXTREMELY HELPFUL”
What the fuck? I have never heard more sarcasm on the phone in my life. And how come she can be a bitch over the line and I hear everything perfectly?
And since when were call centre employees allowed be rude like that? I know I wasn’t allowed be rude when I did my time on the phone lines. My calls were scored for quality, and I woulda lost my bonus if I laid it on noticably thick with the sarcasm.
I fume for a few seconds until I realise that’s exactly what that whore wants me to do, she’s pissy because she works in a shitty call centre and her only solace is knowing she put me in a crappy mood and I can’t say anything back to her.
So I cheer myself up and move on with my day, friendly and bright as I can muster…
It works, I’m in a whopper mood now.
And THEN I made a new friend!
Well, we shall see.
But a Scottish girl came into my shop and we chatted about getting our legs waxed and other intimate but clean kinds of things. We talked shit for ages, and I laughed more than I have since coming back to Italy.
So yeah, there’s another potential newcomer… I just have to stay relatively sober around this girl so I don’t scare her off with the full scope of my conversation topics.
Oh and then I finished work and walked past lots of shops with nice things in the windows. I nipped into a supermarket to reward myself for my restraint with- and I mean this is all I was going to buy- an avocado.
But then I realised I didn’t have cash so I had to buy more than just an avocado to use my card, and so I also bought some fennel tea and some more tins of tuna and some lettuce and deodorant because I ran out.
So I was pretty good, really.
I wanted other stuff, I nearly splashed out on some hair repairing serum, but remembered smugly at the last minute that my hair is in pretty fucking amazing condition, it only looks lank because it’s fucking 35 degrees every day and I am sweating from every follicle on my body (and boy, do I have follices)
So I put it back and felt a surge of good in control feelings.
And then I exited through a clothes shop in the same building, and I was looking at dresses and I snapped myself out of it like a model of restraint, and then I nearly got home but I walked past this “sexy shop” and it had blacked out windows so I thought hey maybe they have corsets? Corsets are sexy. It’s a sexy shop.
I had to ring a buzzer to get in, which startled me and made me go bright red because it made a loud noise and all the people walking around nearby were alerted to my about-to-walk-into-a-sexy-shop status.
I dove in when it clicked open, and found myself in a gloomy room full of porn dvds on shelves, like in the olden days.
Who the fuck goes into a shop and buys porn? Who pays for porn? Like, hello? 2000 called, it wants…. I don’t know but it wants SOMETHING back.
I felt like I was in a museum or some shit.
A man in his 40s, attractive I presume but not hot enough to transcend the age difference, greets me, his only customer.
I look around and see only dvds. I ask him if he has… bras. I don’t know how to say corset and I damn well amn’t describing “a long bra, that laces up to suck in my stomach fat so I can train my waist to look like a wasp’s” in Italian.
He waves me to the back, where a glass case houses the sluttiest, trashiest looking boxes of “sexy” outfits you have ever seen.
Sexy nurse, obvs. And sexy cat, sexy… ah just a load of halloween-quality ho clobber.
I see corsets, but they are not heavy duty tummy tuckers, they are elasticated sheer netty things that would just highlight my uglies. I spy a dildo section to the left, and I really want to know how much a little bullet vibrator would cost here but I know expensive from looking online in Italian shops… I should just buy from the UK, it would only set me back 15 quid.
So I stutter some “no, I wanted something different” to this guy and he decides to take the typical Italian sales ploy of “NO YOU ARE WRONG, YOU JUST THINK YOU WANT SOMETHING ELSE BUT ACTUALLY WE HAVE WHAT YOU WANT.” which they don’t actually say but it is pretty hard to argue out of. I am used to this bullshit technique by now though so I just say, glancing at the boxes of trashy crackwhore garments and seeing “S, M, L” type sizing,
“Actually I was wondering if you had bras with more specialised sizing. You know, cup sizes and things.”
Man’s eyes flicker to my tits. I feel like I was unprepared for the appraisal, and I’m aware he thinks I’m deluded that I need a special size. Damn damn I feel judged now. I puff up as imperceptibly as I can, to give my knockers a bit of an edge.
“They are all elasticated, you don’t need cup sizes”
“Right…” I say, “I am actually looking for good bras with more specific sizes, I thought maybe you sold lingerie…”
“We do, look behind you… they fit any size, they are elastic”
“Yeah I know, I mean like good everyday bras, not…ahem… special ones. I need a separate cup size and bust measurement. It doesn’t matter, it’s just I thought I’d check if you had anything like that…” I edge towards the door.
“WHAT you want a bigger cup?” his eyes return to my sorry attempt at breasts.
“NO.. I have a… wide back. No it’s ok, thank you”
He rolls his eyes like I’m a complete fucking moron, I know that look, it’s the look I give customers when they refuse to believe our real, obviously leather bags are leather, or some shit.
I duck out the door grinning wildly and stumble onto a street full of elderly judgemental passersby. Oh no oh no oh no, I’ve just come out to my neighbourhood watch as a perve.
I make it a few paces away and realise I’m a stupid bitch, I should have just looked at vibrators, this guy works as a porn salesman, what the fuck do I care if he knows I masturbate?
Sheesh. But this is Italy, and who knows? Men and women are very private sexes here…. it’s not the same…
I read an interview one time with this guys who had opened a sex shop somewhere in Italy… it was about their business plan and success and all… but of course the interviewer had to keep asking stuff like “ohmygod do WOMEN come into your shop?” and the slimeball owner was like “yeah, we even get some women in the shop! Yeah it’s hard to believe, but some women come in and buy things from us! Yes, maybe a woman wants to surprise her boyfriend in the bedroom, he he, we don’t mind, it’s all good fun!” or something similarly sexist and closed minded.
I don’t remember verbatim but I do remember fuming about the ridiculously backwards attitude to sex in the part of Italian life that I am privy to…
Just one more point on the list of reasons I’m in the wrong fucking country.
Before I go to bed, I want to confess something…
Yesterday, I bought two MAC eyeshadows. I didn’t really notice I was doing anything wrong until I had my card in my hand, and then I justified it by saying “yeah well if I had woken up late this morning and been hungry, I would have spent the same amount on a taxi and a big lunch, and then a few coffees, so it’s ok.”
I didn’t tell you yesterday because that’s what addicts do, we lie about shit.
But I’m being honest, yo.
I don’t want you to be buying this bullshit about how poised and restrained I am now that I managed to not buy dresses ONE DAY.
Although I am still proud.
It’s progress of some sort.
Good night… and peace out, motherfuckers.