Springtime is my absolute favorite time of year. The air is perfumed by the acacia trees which are in full bloom. I’ve planted my window boxes, my lemon and orange trees are just beginning to flower. I love sitting out in my garden for breakfast, sipping my fake coffee (I had to give up the real thing a few years ago), and doing my word puzzles. But the other day my idyll was broken by the Postina (Mail lady) bringing me two pieces of registered mail to sign. Unfortunately, this is not a rare occurrence. She comes by a few times a month bringing multe (tickets). These are normally speeding tickets. They are never mine, but since the cars are registered in my name, the multe come to me. Dante, my speed-loving compagno, has to write that he was driving the car and he has to pay the tickets. It’s annoying to me but it’s really his problem to deal with.
I would like to preface my story by saying that I really love my adopted country. The people are warm and full of life. Nothing in the following story is meant to give offense. The Italian bureaucracy has a long established, world-wide reputation, and I was not its first nor will I be its last victim.
The following story is true. While I’m sure that these things happen to other people as well as to me, I believe that they happen more often to me. Perhaps that’s a function of trying to learn and do as many things as possible before I die. I have always been in a hurry to experience life. I remember when I was a child, my mother telling me to slow down because there would be nothing left for me to do when I grew up. (She was wrong). This illustrates my first encounter with the ITALIAN BUREAUCRACY (Burocrazia Intensa). This is the saga of Gershwin’s first trip to Italy:
And so now I write. Actually, I have written in some form for a good part of my life. I remember my first published story. I was nine years old. The story was about a weenie roast (what would now be referred to as a backyard barbecue). But we called it a weenie roast. It consisted of hot dogs and Boston Baked Beans that my mother made. The beans and white bread were the only two things she ever cooked well as I recall. Anyway, it was a 4th of July weenie roast and for some reason that I don’t recall, I wanted to write a story about it. I don’t remember anything about the story but my mother thought it was good enough to be published. She was a writer and had written many little stories that were published in Catholic magazines. She submitted it to one of those magazines and it was published. The reason I really remember it was because I received a letter from a girl in Canada who had read the story and was horrified that we were eating meat on Friday!