If not now, when?

One American woman. Twenty acres and a 1650 farmhouse in Tuscany. Random introspection and hilarity, depending on the day.

20 February 2006

File che fanno senso

"File che fanno senso" - which I THINK is Italian for "lines that make sense" (corrected translations welcome, amici italiani!). This is something that simply does not exist in Italy that I have a renewed appreciation for as I am back here in the States. The blissfully simple 'rope and stanchion' system that is so prevalent here in the good ole' U-S-of-A, combined with a country full of people who are not only familiar with said system, but respectful of its role and the resulting orderly waiting that it facilitates.

Italians are shockingly bad at lines. Indeed, they don't really even HAVE lines, more clumps of impatient nebulousness moving generally in one direction. This is something I was completely unaware of before moving there: it's not highlighted in the guidebooks or commonly known as one of the cultural stereotypes (like amply-sized grandmas, dark chest hair, ass-pinching, or gold chains -- some, to be fair, more accurate than others).

No, you actually have to get there (and be waiting for something in a group) to experience the true disjointed, expanding and contracting, nebulous, shoving, edging forward, shrewd shoulder placement, total disregard for others' presence and personal space, complete shared psychosis that is the Italian 'line' system.

By contrast, we Americans are brilliantly ordered. "My dance space - your dance space". One after another. Every person gets his turn. I'm proud that America leads the globe in a few things, and I can definitely add respectful group waiting to the list.


Anonymous Laurie said...

Hi Viagg....are you back home? Here is what I JUST learned from an italian colleague: Ha senso means "makes sense" whereas "fa senso" means something is not right or "a little off". Whaddaya know...I never knew this. We just don't have elbows like our italian friends. My italian godmother, the tiniest, most Audrey Hepburn-like, precious creature you ever saw (at 68), can ram ANYONE out of place in a line with the merest touch of her dainty little elbow.

2:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You know, I invented standing in line. Before that, everyone just stood around in a big group. It was a mess."

- Michael the Archangel

(as portrayed by John Travolta in the movie "Michael")

Daisy Boy

3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to check in...I tried emailing you but it bounced back. Is it okay? If you could send me an email to confirm that would be great. Love ya!


5:46 PM  

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