And why are we not surprised, this case has to do with my vast knowledge (kidding) of Italian football and my passion for what I would like to be my favorite teams but now I'm kinda thinkin' I might need to reconsider that...
I mentioned the beautiful "G" in one of my last posts...he is the man I met in Rome last November - this was a mere 16 hours before I flew back home to LA. As I said on my SportsBites radio show the other day, that would be my luck to meet someone like him just before I leave Italy, without a set date to return once again.
Anyway, we have finally just begun regularly emailing with - for me - pure pleasure. I write to him in Italian and he usually writes to me in English. Very, very charming English. Did I mention that this is pure pleasure on my end?
The other day we wrote about speaking on the phone, and I asked, maybe on Sunday? I added that maybe a match with Milan or Juventus would be on TV that day. In that case, I would be "very very busy", so we could speak before or after.
Mind you, I did not even know if he was tifoso (a fan), and, I happen to know that both these squads have fans all over Italy, including Sicily...so I could not guess that his response would be what it was. But, he had in fact told me he was back in Napoli, his town, so believe me when I say that I wish I'd been knocked upside the head in advance, because...
Those in Napoli....not big fans of northern Italian squads. Not big fans of Milan and Juventus in particular, I'm sure. Do they want to talk - or hear - about them? You know? Not so much.
He wrote, in Italian (my Italian dictionary and I now just about require surgical detachment) - in some capital letters (ouch) - words to this effect.
And then, that he loves my website, and my work, and that he is waiting, anxiously for my next letter.
But, can you imagine still, how horrible I felt? Oh s--t.
My first thought was OK you know what? NOW would be a really good time to never, ever speak - let alone write - Italian again. And, if we ever meet up in Italy again (at that moment I was quite sure I'd be a fool to ever expect that), I might do well to just somehow communicate that I had now become a deaf mute - probably the best thing that could ever happen for him.
But then it occurred to me that this would in turn, equal the idea of my trying to communicate in Italian via, what, sign language?? That would just be disastrous beyond comprehension. This lovely gentle man does not deserve that. Nor does Napoli. Nor Italy.
I am hard-pressed to think of any entity that would deserve that.
And that would still not excuse me from having to write down my words, now would it? And when we were together, what would I do? While pretending to be a deaf mute? Use a magic slate or notepad to script the botching of his beautiful language?
Oh just never mind.
Back to my story. (We were talking about my mention of being a Milan and Juve fan to this man from Napoli, remember?) I needed to back out of this one yesterday, and yet, do I know enough Italian to say how foolish I felt? To express what I'd really like to say?
I do not.
I write to tell him exactly that, and how sorry I am. I did know how to say I never meant to say anything offensive and that I'm afraid he's angry at me. I try to explain that we rarely see Napoli on TV here, Milan and Juve are just the squads I know the best. And, that when I do come to Napoli, that we can be tifosi for his team, together.
He writes back to say he was joking! He could never be angry at me. (It's a good thing I have that in writing.)
Yesterday I sent him Fabio Cannavaro's recipe for pizza. Canna is the captain of Italy's national (soccer) team, and the one you may remember (shaved head, fabulous smile) in photos after the 2006 World Cup holding up the trophy with tremendous joy. He is from Napoli. It was suggested to me, that great champions come from Napoli. I just wanted him to know, that I get it.
Little sidebar, last note - you'd think I'd have learned a little something from another encounter, with the last Italian man, from Milan, who insisted, "Diane. You can't be a fan of Milan and Juve. It has to be Milan or Juve." Yeah. He disappeared into the ether shortly thereafter.
Do you think I ought to try the deaf mute thing? For the greater good, to perhaps put beautiful Italian men out of their misery once and for all?
The alternative might be way too much fun.