OH on the 30 Express

22 Mar

Alternate title: “In Which Shelley Reveals Herself to be a Pseudo-Intellectual Snob Bordering on Bitchy and Catty”

Or maybe not even bordering.

But I do it for entertainment purposes only. So don’t go and sue me or anything.

I get on the 30 Express bus today and this is one of the first things that percolates to my eardrums:

(chirpy voice) “We’re having so much fun that I don’t know how fun is ever going to be fun again!!!!”

(exclamation points added for emphasis)

Yes, those are the exact words, andIquote, because I took out my damn cell phone and put it in the memo app.

Because: it was THAT GOOD.

In fact I almost want to say: it was so good that I don’t know how good is ever going to be good again!


But I won’t.

And thus began my 40-minute journey eavesdropping on three American college students. It was either eavesdrop on them, or read a little treatise by Nietzsche about morality or another book that my intellectual crush recommended to me. Now, as much I as dearly heart my intellectual crush, these girls were simply too good to pass up.

As in, smoke started coming off of my cell phone keypad.

A few more gems, you say? Ok. Happy to oblige.

We pass in front of Campidoglio. Also known as Capitoline Hill (Wiki up if you don’t want to feel stupid) also known as, andIquote:

The existing design of the Piazza del Campidoglio and the surrounding palazzi was created by Renaissance artist and architect Michelangelo Buonarroti in 1536–1546.

My girls’ commentary?

Girl 1: “Oh! Those are some steps!”
Girl 2: “Yeah. Those are pretty steep steps.”
Girl 1: “Those are famous, right?”

My response to that would be, um, like yes and stuff. And I’d also helpfully add that there are lots of old stones and stuff in Rome. And stuff.

Oh BTW? One of them did something that’s a total pet peeve of mine. The whole mispronunciation of bruschetta. I hate it. It’s like fingernails on a chalkboard. It’s bruSKETah, people! Get it! Not brush-etta. Not brush-etta. REPEAT AFTER ME: NOT BRUSH-ETTA.

Girl 1: “OHMYGOD you totally have to try the brushetta.”
Girl 2: “Yeah, totally, it’s like, so totally oily and tomatoey.”

(Yes she said tomatoey. I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried.)

Other things that were involved in this conversation included the fact that the cleaning lady is now coming at 11 am, spring break (in which the word “VAY KAY” was actually uttered, I swear to you) and, the following pearl of sacred wisdom:

“Having divorced parents is like the worst. I just feel like… that just sucks.”

Don’t tell my kids, ok? I don’t want them to think I suck. And stuff.

Oh also, if you happen to be this girl’s teacher for her “Globalization” class? Just FYI, she doesn’t feel like studying for it. She feels, andIquote, “that I can probably just bullshit my way through it.”

You know, and stuff. Like, just in case you wanted to know.

PS She also compared Villa Borgaysee to a scene from Nicolas Sparks’ “The Notebook.”

PPS I don’t really hate US college kids. They’ve provided me with an excellent living. I could also have made this far more productive and academic by citing facts such as “As of 2011, approximately 37% of Americans have passports or passport cards” therefore allowing me to proudly laud these young scholars for being part of the just over one-third of American citizens who even have the possibility of traveling abroad.

But no. I don’t want to. I just want to be petty. And stuff.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go eat a tomatoey brushetta.


20 Responses to “OH on the 30 Express”

  1. anna l'americana March 22, 2012 at 4:54 pm #

    I think you just retold my most frightening recurring anxiety dream in which I’m trapped on a bus in Rome slowly trundling in from parts EUR down Viale Marconi and Viale Trastevere in heavy traffic with a perky American waitress explaining how you pronounce “brush-etta” and that their desserts are made from 100% Italian “mars-cap-own…..” while my father whispers “pross-cue-doe” in my ear…. brrrr…. frightening.

  2. mondomulia March 22, 2012 at 4:58 pm #

    I first travelled to US in 1998 for a “study English abroad” vacation in California. I was hosted by an American family and I remember being asked questions such as: “do you know what a washing machine is?”, “does Italy have the ocean?” (mind you, they had no idea what the “sea” was!). That was some small town south of San Francisco. Having said that, conversations from Italian students on holiday in London are not too different….

    On another note, reading your blog has now become my new routine, I just have to avoid doing it at work cause I can’t refrain from laughing uncontrollably!!! 😉

  3. Beth March 22, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

    I love reading your posts, Shelley. You always give me a taste of home, which I miss a lot, by saying and speaking your mind–I LOVE it! Thanks!!!!

  4. loquensmachina March 22, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

    Oh, boy. This is one of the most painful things about being an American abroad, even though I know it’s not just Americans…I’ve worked on digs with ‘international’ student volunteers and found myself, for example, the only one desperately trying to convince other European picky eaters not to send back the ‘peperoni’ pizzas they had ordered and were horrified by. But I know my fellow country(wo)men for some reason continue to make a ridiculous impression, and it affects us all! I studied abroad in Rome when I was in undergrad years ago and roomed with 9 other girls, IN Campo de’Fiori, back when Sloppy Sam’s and that other corner bar were right across the piazza…it was brutal, and I got a front row seat. I think it’s the unabashed loudness that gets me…if you’re going to be an idiot, must you be one so vocally?

  5. Carolina March 22, 2012 at 6:33 pm #

    LMFAO! and stuff

  6. Carolina March 22, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

    Shelly, I’ll be in Rome in August. I’d love to meet u if you’re around.

  7. LC March 22, 2012 at 9:46 pm #


    Every Nation has its’ pond life to remind oneself why it is so important to be educated, well travelled and sensitive to the world around us. (And quiet on buses).

    We also like to feel smug and superior….. but that is probably just as offensive and wrong.

    And fun, so much fun.

    Obnoxious, loud and congenitally stupid is not just an American Abroad trait!! The English abroad have been at it a lot longer! And they do it rather well.

    I live in Oxfordshire and Venice, and we get our fair share of tourists in both – daily

    snippets of conversations you would rather not hear, am saving them up for a book!

    You do make me laugh

  8. Francesca Maggi March 23, 2012 at 11:06 am #

    I think you need to take your case to Martha Stewart: she has thousands of image people & still can’t get Brooshetta off right.
    But whatever you do, don’t ask an American about Gnocchi.

  9. jillwein March 23, 2012 at 2:34 pm #

    Hi Shelley!! As I was walking over the Rialto Bridge earlier today, I could not help but absorb this gem for you:

    “… I don’t know if like I agree with vegetarianism….” and the friend “……like totally….”

    I did not pause long enough to find out why!

    And then, coming back over and passing by a spot where someone sells prints of Venice along the fondamenta a customer commented:

    “…..I don’t know, like I think it’s too Venice-y….”

    Well, we are in Venice….did she think it needed to have an image of the Colosseum included?

    Your post made me laugh!

  10. Un'americana a Roma March 24, 2012 at 7:35 am #

    Sorry to have provoked that.. Take a Xanax, eat a brushetta, or maybe go to CaPREE, and call me in the morning.

  11. Un'americana a Roma March 24, 2012 at 7:36 am #

    Aw, G, wuv you bunches! Can’t wait to get to London to see you and S in your natural (by now) habitat. Miss you already my friend!

  12. Un'americana a Roma March 24, 2012 at 7:36 am #

    Beth grazie 1000! *heart swells with pride*

  13. Un'americana a Roma March 24, 2012 at 7:38 am #

    AAAHAHAHAHA! Sloppy Sam’s! Been years since I’ve heard that one. I think the Drunken Ship is still around? It’s been a while since I’ve worked with the partier crowd. The students I work with now, a lot of them being hard-core classics majors and therefore very reverent of Rome, are for the most part a delight (knocks on wood, crosses fingers, etc.)

  14. Un'americana a Roma March 24, 2012 at 7:38 am #

    Oooh, the “and stuff” was perfect here. Brava, bravissima!

  15. Un'americana a Roma March 24, 2012 at 7:39 am #

    Honey it’s gonna be haaaatttttttt, ok, we’ll get a caffè freddo.

  16. Un'americana a Roma March 24, 2012 at 7:40 am #

    Glad to make you laugh, that is ultimately my goal. I really just write the blog to amuse myself, and so when you tell me it makes you laugh too, that makes me very happy!!

  17. Un'americana a Roma March 24, 2012 at 7:41 am #

    Nooooo!!! The goddess of “good living” or whatever it is, can’t pronounce bruschetta? Jeezzus. Oh well. Let’s not break her million-dollar+ heart. Do we even want to start on RR and EVOO? Nooooo!!!! Gnocchi and Americans? What is this phenomenon of which you speak? Do tell!

  18. Un'americana a Roma March 24, 2012 at 7:42 am #

    AAAHAHAHAHA too Venicey? That’s so awesome. Nice. And I like how the other was trying to decide whether or not to “agree” with vegetarianism. Vegetarianism as philosophy is actually quite intellectual. Maybe she was just playing dumb.

  19. Sarah May March 24, 2012 at 8:38 am #

    I think these were my students. Cause you know, they like can’t come to class because they have tickets to a concert, OMG.

  20. Kerry March 27, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

    I could not stop laughing! Always enjoy reading your blog Shelley. Best way to start or end my day.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: