Just in case you were worried, I want to reassure you that the Christmas spirit, Roman style, is alive and well around these parts.
How do I know this? Let me count the ways.
This morning, as I (stupidly) was entering my neighborhood supermarket, I passed by a 40-something woman getting into her car, screaming the following festive words of greeting at the top of her lungs:
“And let me tell you something, I’d beat you up right now if it wasn’t for the fact that it’s Christmas!!! And also because I respect that you’re an old lady!”
Awwwwww. Doesn’t it just warm your heart? Me too.
But wait! There’s more!
As I was waiting in the (unending ridiculously long God help us all) line to pay for my meager purchases, I observed the following holly jolly scene:
Man hands teenage cashier a 20 euro bill to pay for his groceries. The total is €4.92.
Cashier, who BTW has a santa hat stuffed into her jeans pocket (scrooge!) with air of extreme displeasure: [distinct irritated sighing noise] “Don’t you have a 5?”
***here I must interject, once and for all, that I continue to not understand the above-mentioned problem with changing money here in Rome (kindly refer to number 5). Why, oh why, must we pay for our things coming as close as humanly possible to the exact display on the register? What is this strange phenomenon, I ask you!? Are there not banks in Rome? Is this a frickin’ TV game show? Whoever has exact change wins the prize? AAARRRGH. ***
Man and wife begin to search pockets and wallets for coins. Man looks in wallet and begins counting. 1, 2… wife opens wallet, finds 50 cents.
People. It does not take a rocket scientist to deduce that this is not efficiency’s finest moment of glory.
However, it does not stop our cashier from continuing to insist. As we all wait in anxious anticipation for the aforementioned 4 euros and 92 cents to magically manifest.
Man finds total of 5 euros in coins. Presents to cashier with a pithy “I hope you’re happy now.”
When it came my turn, she turns to her friend cashier next to her and says: “Can you believe that guy? ‘I hope you’re happy.’ What nerve! He should talk! Trying to pay for a 4,92 purchase with a 20 euro bill! I mean come on!”
Apparently this is not the Christmas spirit, to pay like this. I pay with my ATM card, hand trembling, but do not receive any reprimands. Yay.
Oh, by the way? I bought a gift today in a shop that cost €8. “Can I pay with my credit card?” say I. This is what we like to call a RHETORICAL QUESTION. Or at least that is what I considered it to be, until I got the response: “For 8 euro? Um, no. No. Not for 8 euro. Sorry.”
Fa la la la la, la la la LAAAAAAA!!!!!
Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a pocketful of exact change!
PS A dear reader with an astute eye, who I shall refer to simply as “Big Cat” (you have a code name now! so cool!) took some photographic evidence for me last night which demonstrates that “Yankee Candles” are now available for gift-giving to one and all here in Rome. BTW, I am so loving the tagline on their website: “America’s best loved candle.[tm]” (Yes, this is a trademarked phrase. So don’t try to steal it.) Now. I understand the problems inherent in claiming to be America’s best candle; clearly this would be quite difficult to prove. But, America’s best LOVED candle? Is this substantiated? I personally do not love paying $25 a jar for scents like “Nature’s Paintbrush” or “Raindrops on Roses,” however delightful they may be. But this is because I am a cynical, cold and heartless woman. You, however, may not be like me and therefore you can be comforted by the knowledge that a vacation to Rome can also include these scents:
Grazie gattone 😉