Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Train of thought...

Paolo had to work at their soccer club tonight, so I was by myself for dinner. I didn't even bother to turn on the TV--it's more stress than it's worth. And Italian TV easily deserves a blog of it's another time. I'm not good at reading and eating (I have a hard time not wearing my food when I am focusing on it, let alone when reading.) So during my dinner for one, I just let my mind run away with itself, and this is the twisted road it took me down...

First. Jenn got a call from her ex-husband when we were on IM today, so made me think of Leslie. And, for some reason this scene popped into my head: One average day in Columbus, we were at a gas station filling up the car, and the man at the pump next to us had struck up a conversation with Leslie (I was in the car). The man was a black guy (relavant in a second) and he asked Les where he was from (Leslie is also black, with dreadlocks and a Caribbean accent, so this was a common question). Leslie tells the guy that he's from Trinidad. The guys response: "Really?? I'm from Africa too!!" And...get this...he then handed Leslie his pump and offered to pay for our gas. Les, being the thrifty Trini that he is, played along with the dude and allowed him to buy our gas. Apparently he has no sympathy for the stupid. He gets in the car cracking up, and explains what just happened. We decide that with the money we saved on gas the only good and kind thing we could do was to buy the guy a he could see for himself that Trinidad is absolutely nowhere near Africa.

So, that line of thinking lead me to "there really aren't that many black people in Italy" and it's sad, the only ones I see are African immigrants selling fake Gucci bags on the street. In fact, there really isn't any culture in Italy aside from Italian. Granted, the regions are all pretty different from each other-the food, the dialect, the architecture. But, I miss seeing people that look different. No matter what the region, the people all look very Italian. I guess this is normal for countries other than the US...the big "melting pot" but I really appreciate our cultural smorgasboard.

Thinking about black people in Italy led me to thinking about how Paolo and I watched "Stomp the Yard" or a similar movie (can't remember), about some black colleges competing in a "stepping" battle. We both love dance movies (and yes, Paolo is straight). When we watch movies we usually try to see them in Italian with English subtitles, so I can hear the Italian being spoken while reading in English. I just couldn't handle it with this movie. You can't have Italians doing voice overs for Southern Black Americans-- they take 100% of the cool out of it. And there is no way to translate "That's whack" or "crunk" into Italian and still have the same effect.

Then I started thinking about how Paolo and I are probably the only people in the world that watch American movies that are dubbed in Italian with English subtitles. Then I started thinking about how somethings are just really "American" and no matter how close the translation is, it still doesn't capture it. When I was thinking about ultra American things, I thought about my Italian class today, in which I had a 2 hour lesson about coffee (no joke, it's a religion here). My teacher asked me about famous coffee in the US. I told her that Starbucks was easily the most famous. She just stared at me kinda blankly "Non so"...I don't know...what??? My Italian teacher had NEVER HEARD OF STARBUCKS.

I'll leave it at that folks. I know, it's a hard pill to swallow.

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