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The Man With the Bulging Eyes

Posted Sep 22 2008 10:14am

I'm drained. Facebook has destroyed me. People in Grosseto think I'm a freakin' lunatic because I walk down the street and suddenly start laughing hysterically. Every single face is a funny story...with some type of drama mixed into it. I need a break.

Theme: The People Who Come in and out of our Lives
Setting: Bar Stiacciole (Bars in Italy are coffee shops that serve liquor, pastries,cafe, cappuccino, ice-cream, cigarettes, newspapers, slot machines - this place is a hole in the wall---but it's got it all.)
Characters: Me, Sofia and "The Guy Who Gives Me the Eye"

Here's the scene. My daily routine involves having a cappuccino and a heart to heart with my friend Sonia every morning, during the summer however, the routine may vary, but the cappuccino is a Must. I think when you've been married for so long, there comes a point where you stop looking around at other people, actually you stop noticing things're a woman.

However, when you go into your typical thirty-something crisis, wake up, exchange the holy sweats for a pair of really tight elasticized jeans and start strutting instead of schlepping, you begin to notice that you're getting "the eye"...again...for the first time in such a loooooooooooong time.

At first, you are shy, flattered, shocked. And you don't even give a shit that it's comin' from a seventy year old toothless man...ya just kind of revel in the fact that, yeah, you still got it goin' on.

Um. "The Guy Who Gave Me the Eye"
began this behavior about seven months ago, while I was smack in the middle of my crisis, had lost about twenty-five lbs and had that I'm waking up from my life as the mother of a Deaf Child...who the hell is Jodi phase thing happening to me.

The man was a sixty-five year old disgusting drunk who slurred when he spoke, was half bald and wore a ponytail. He had bulging eyes
...freaked the hell out of me. Every morning I went to the bar for a coffee, he would say, "Good Morning, Madam." (puke)and give me the once-over. I flinched every single time.

About a week ago, I was in a particularly good mood, actually it was the day Sofia decided to dress as a ballerina and we walked arm in arm to the Bar. Bulging eyeballs was there. Sofia and I sat outside as I drank my coffee and she played with her Barbie-doll (obviously clad in fuschia)
This is what went down:

TGWGMTE: Good morning, Madam. Are you from Santo Domingo?

Me: (WTF?)Um. No, I'm American.
Sofia: (speaking in English)Mommy, can I get a chocolate egg?
Me:(replying in English) No, Sofia, it's 9 in the morning.
TGWGMTE: Come on over here, Madam, I'd like to tell you a story.
Me:(Hm. perfect English) Ok
TGWGMTE: (pushing aside his jar of 1 euro coins won from the slot machine)I'm originally from Milan. My family was in textiles. I graduated from a college in Memphis where I studied cotton growing...the year was 1963. I arrived in Memphis the day after John F. Kennedy was assassinated and I witnessed an America in mourning. I lived in Memphis during a time when there were signs on shops saying "For Whites Only"

Me: (leaning closer to him) Hi, I'm Jodi, tell me more, please.
Sofia: (stops playing with her Barbies, walks over to our table and notices the jar of one euro coins. She eyes the coins and then she gives bulging eyes
the once-over.)
TGWGMTE: Hi, Jodi. It's nice to meet you. My name is Anthony. Sofia, you have beautiful curls, here, have one of these. (Hands a one euro coin to Sofia)
Sofia: Wow, Mamma,
I can take a hot shower at the beach! Um. Anthony, I have a brother, could he have one too?
Me: Sofia, say thank you very much.

Sofia walks into the bar to spend her euro...just like her Mamma.

Anthony: I remember driving my car just outside of town and finding a diner. I was dressed in a suit, you know how Italians dress...nothing like Americans! I walked up to the door, saw a sign that said, "For Colored People Only," didn't think twice and walked right in. Jaws dropped. They could tell I wasn't American, and I made a lot of friends right away.

A friend of mine and I decided to drive to Hollywood to visit a couple of friends of ours. We stopped in a stripclub and I met a colored lady. I asked her out on a date and she accepted. I'll never forget this. I got dressed in my suit and pulled up outside of a French restaurant, I had decided to take her to a very elegant French restaurant. As I walked to the door with my date, I read that the sign on the door said, "For Whites Only." I opened the door for my date and walked right in. All eyes following us, we sat ourselves at a table and I waited. Sure enough, the owner of the restaurant sprinted to our table, leaned over to me and whispered, "I'm sorry, sir, there are no colored people allowed in this restaurant."

As the rest of the people at that restaurant stared, I responded in perfect French, "I'm sorry, I don't speak English." Speechless, the owner walked away. Other people got up to leave; we remained and enjoyed a delightful meal.

Yes...that was an interesting time in American history. The Americans were so stupid.

Me: Yeah, we often are...pretty stupid....and then, suddenly, we get it.
Sofia: Mommmmmmmmmmmy! I have to go to the Batttttttttttttthroom!
Me: It was nice meeting you, Anthony. As you can see, we have to go...
Anthony:(raising my hand to his lips)
The pleasure, Madam, was all mine.
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