I had a nervous uncomfortbale laugh and then immediately washed my hand five times.
This evening I stayed again at the hotel instead of going out, which meant I was dining alone.
My Waiter (I really should get his name), gave me the option of sitting in a back corner tonight, thank you! As it is getting close to the end of my trip I decided I might as well go all out and try 3 of the 5 courses available on almost every Italian menu. How does anyone stay thin? I ordered an Appetizer, First Course and Dessert with a coffee.
I managed through the Appetizer and the First Course when two older gentlemen entered the dinning room and sat at the table beside mine. They were sharing a news paper and seemed to be discussing it’s contents.
My Dessert arrived and as I finished up reading an email, noticed out of the corner of my eye one of the old men getting up from his seat and making his way towards me.
He arrived at my table and asked “Are you Italian”, in what seemed like Italian. I shook my head no. That pleased him and he continued by listing off a bunch of languages I might possibly speak, “French, English etc.”. I stopped him and responded “English and some French.”
Ahhhh, and he reached down for my hand, picked my left hand off the table. His the palm of his old hand was fleshy, soft and warm, the top of his hand was veined, hairy and rough. He raised our hands together and kissed the back of my hand and I pulled my hand back.
He pointed to my waiting dessert and asked in French, “Is it good?”
“I Haven’t tried yet,” and I took my spoon and a small bite and gave him the thumbs up. He was pleased and asked me to point out which dessert it was on his Italian language menu.
Before he left my table he took my hand a second time, held it slighly longer than the first, kissed it again, looked into my eyes to said Ciao.
I looked away. Uncomfortable.
I am slightly frazzled, but I have this and I focused on my dessert and my coffee.
The wait staff dropped off a dish of complimentary biscuits on my table. I ignore the biscuits, how do they do this? Pre-appetizer rolls, sliced dried baguette, three course meal AND Biscuits!
The old man noticed and again got up from his table. He asked if I minded if he had my biscuits. He didn’t try to take my hand, I didn’t look at him and I gestured “Go ahead”.
I am completely involved in my email, but I noticed movement to my left and I took a little sideways peak over. He was sitting, staring at me, jiggling his legs giving me the impression was waiting for an opening, a reason to pop back over to my table. I went back to my email and focused, focused on not looking up. I felt trapped. I desperately wanted to leave the room but I feared he’d follow me, so it became a little game of whom can out-sit whom!
He managed to stand up. He waited. I did not look up but I could sense the movement as he made his way back to my table. I cringed. He leaned in much closer than before and in his broken French he asked me, “Do you want to have breakfast with me tomorrow.”
I wished desperately for my invisibility cloak.
I shook my head no and said, “That will not work for me.”
He is not detterred and repeats in earnest his question, “Will yo have beakfast with me tomorrow.”
I shook my head no, more vigorously than before.
He is an old man, he’s been told no many times, he isn’t going to give up and he tried a new route, “Give me your hotel room number and I will call you.”
MY HOTEL ROOM NUMBER AND HE WILL CALL ME! I wanted to die.
This time I left out the shaking of my head and the verbal no’s and I pulled out my arm gesture that I’ve picked up while being in Italy. The arm gesture that gets in your face and is the ultimate go the F*ck away. I had tried the nice Canadian approach and it clearly did not work.
I pulled my right arm up from my lap and I shook it firmly from side to side in front of his bent over nose.
He knows I am not Italian and doesn’t believe my agressive arm gesture and he simply said, “What time are you planning to have breakfast.”
I ignored him. I was out of material and he shrugged and left the dinning room.
I am ready to come home thanks.