A creative writing exercise

Why do they always talk so fast in Italian? Every time I turn on the radio, they are gabbling away, and so impossibly fast that I can’t grasp what they are talking about. But then, it’s normally all about things in which I have no interest. Who wants to know what the latest love scandal is between politicians or actresses? Who really studies fashion or gives a hoot about what so and so was wearing, or probably not wearing given how skimpy clothes are today amongst the In-crowd! What a waste of air time, of breath and mental gymnastics to decipher the meaningless chatter.

Except, I suppose, being an ex-pat, it’s important to learn to speak the language. I mean, it’s all very well living in someone else’s country, and enjoying their culture and cuisine, but culture is not only what happened a few hundred years ago. Culture is living, at least so I believe, but who am I that you would want to give me air time, to listen to my ramblings and the twists and turns of my thoughts?

Ok, I’m old enough to be considered an elder, one of the wise, though to tell the truth I am always amazed by my own ‘Bon mot’. It’s as if there is another me that lives inside. In fact several. The one I’m referring to here though has access to the most incredible insights. The kind of person you’d want to quote. The trouble is that I don’t have control of the access to her. She speaks when she chooses, and it is only when I hear someone quote me back that I recognise my own profundity!

The other me, that I am most familiar with is barely 17, an arrested teenager who skips through life, self-absorbed and self-conscious. The problem there is my movements have slowed, balance is a challenge, and new things fluster me. For example all this needing to learn Italian. I mean, at my age, however quickly I learn anything I can forget it even quicker! Learning is not the problem and never has been. Remembering though, well that’s another thing.

Of course there are benefits in this, such as being able to read the same book twice, and given how few English language books I have access to that is probably a good thing! The bad thing is that I struggle to discuss them as I’ve lost the plot! Ha Ha! And don’t get me started on names! Well, I won’t. Though when someone starts to talk, it is strange how much of their stories comes back to me in the way they speak, the way they use their body and the sound of their voices.

That’s one thing I’ve learnt living here, that when you can’t follow the language, you follow the body. The body language doesn’t lie! Just look at that couple over there. From their words you’d think that they were really into each other, but he’s distracted by both his phone and his watch. He really wants to get away! His shoulders are turned away and he never really looks at her!

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