Monday, February 21, 2011

Sunday morning socialisers

Today, Sunday, we-re on our Sunday morning stroll downtown, trying to decide which bar to have coffee in. I try the one which gets most sun in the mornings but all the tables outside are taken by dodgy looking people in shiny black bomber jackets and shades. We try inside anyway but don’t even get some much as a buongiorno or a smile from the staff. That’s important. So I reverse the stroller out. Dithering outside about whether to go to the quiet but expensive bar on the pedestrian strip to my left, or whether to go to the bar on the corner of the roundabout by the sea, I sense some eyes on me, and realize I have just sailed past some cousins who are getting a good eyeful of myself and the stroller. They come over for a chat and to check out bambino who is blissfully sleeping. Just out for a coffee and glance at the papers and stroll with all the other parents on the promenade, I tell cousins, with whom I will be shortly having lunch at the nonna’s, to mark a year since the nonno died. We make it to the bar but poor bambino’s sleep is over. He’s a celebrity. There is a kind of hush as I wheel the stroller in and get settled with my coffee and book: people are busy trying to place me. Who’s this straniera? But then the man at the next table turns around with a great hello for us, a saxophonist who has played at the restaurant, and everyone sighs in relief. So she’s known round here. In fact, I sit for the length of my cappuccino kissing cheeks and handshaking all the Sunday morning socialisers: the exact same people who will have been up at Pachamama until 3am. It occurs to me that they are not really so much pleased to see me as pleased to be able to greet the nice foreign girl with her funky stroller and cute bambino. Because it’s all about appearances. Maybe I’m just being cynical. Maybe they are genuinely pleased to see me. I beam at all concerned anyway.

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