Rome-ing Off The Reservation

, , , , | Right | March 22, 2021

I’m on holiday in Rome just after high school graduation. I join a tour organized by the youth hostel I’m staying at. After a long trek through the Eternal City, as we go back to the hostel, a boy not much older than me approaches our tour guide.

Boy: “Excuse me, but I want to know: are you Roman?”

Guide: “Well, not quite. I’m Sabinian, but I’ve lived in Rome for years.”

Boy: “Oh, I see. So, can you tell me where I can find the reservation?”

Guide: *Puzzled* “The reservation? What do you mean, exactly?”

Boy: “Y’know, the place where Romans live, and they all dress up in togas and have gladiatorial fights in. Those reservations.”

Guide: “I… I’m pretty sure there isn’t one.”

Boy: “So they demolished it when they banned traditional costumes last year? That’s s***ty as h***. At least they’ve been protesting about it pretty well.”

Guide: “Wait, what? What are you talking about? There’s a law against people dressing up as centurions, but…”

Boy: “But what? Aren’t you proud of your heritage?”

Guide: “If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t work as a guide, but what does that have to do with anything?”

Boy: *Shaking his head* “Never mind, then.”

The guide shrugs and carries on as usual. When we all get back to the hotel, I approach the boy.

Me: “What were you trying to ask to [Guide]? I’m not sure I understood your train of thought.”

Boy: “I wanted to visit the Roman reservation, that’s all, but apparently Italians are too racist to treat the Romans any better.”

Me: “But Italians are descended from the Romans; how’s that even possible?”

Boy: “Explain yesterday’s protest, then.”

He then went on ranting about racism and cultural appropriation. I tried to look up the protest he was talking about, but, as it turned out, it was the 21st of April, which is Rome’s birthday, and has a parade of Roman-era reenactors going down the streets around the Colosseum. But I still don’t understand how he could even think Romans were still existing as a separate population!

1 Thumbs
362

Would Be Totally Destroyed In The Roman Forum

, , , , , | Right | July 30, 2020

I’m doing guided tours in the historical centre of Rome, leading a tour group out of the Imperial Fora and bringing them to the Colosseum. [Tourist #1] from the group approaches me.

Tourist #1: *In English* “By the way, I was wondering, did the Romans ever ask to fix up the ruins?”

Me: “Not really, no, most of Rome’s citizens think they’re better that way.”

Tourist #1: “I mean, I suppose so, but isn’t there a representative body around to protect their interests?”

Me: *Confused* “What do you mean, exactly? The city of Rome has a lot of mayorships in it, but there’s not really one standing one above the other.”

Tourist #1: “So, I guess that you just kind of keep Romans in reservations like First Nations, then? Because that’s what it looks like.”

Me: “First Nations?”

Tourist #2: “[Tourist #1], cut it out, the Romans don’t exist anymore; they can’t be represented in the city body.”

Tourist #1: “Ah, I suppose they all died in the Holocaust, [My Name]? Because I’ve read that ‘Romas’ died in it…”

I bit my tongue and ignored the question, getting to the explanation of the Colosseum. [Tourist #2] did try to offer me a pastry as an apology, but I declined.

1 Thumbs
351

It’s A Big, Bright, Beautiful World… But Not For Shrek

, , , , , , , , | Related | June 14, 2020

CONTENT WARNING: ABUSE

I own a dry-cleaning business and work there. When the national lockdown happened, my business was considered among the “essential” ones, so I was allowed to stay open but doing fewer hours.

During this, I had a particularly nasty client visiting me on the regular — almost every week, in fact. He’d always bring in absolutely filthy bedsheets and pillow covers, never had the correct amount of money, and only used hand sanitizer when he gave me his rags.

By chatting against my will with him and by what info my wife told me, I found out that he actually lived in the apartment above mine, meaning that he not only he was a pigsty of a person, he also was the same man that heavily swore in the wee hours of the morning and stomped up and down his place, waking my son up and scaring him, and had done so for months.

Due to this client’s boorish behaviour, I had nicknamed him “Shrek,” and I told my son that “Shrek” had left Fiona, took a potion turning him human, and then went to live upstairs from us, which was good enough to get him to stop being scared at his heavy steps and his Tuscan blasphemies against God at strange hours.

A few days ago, restrictions relaxed, and I was allowed to finally take my son out to play in the park. As we were getting ready to leave, I saw “Shrek” come down the stairs with some luggage on hand.

My son looked at him with curiosity and intensity, and then he asked, very loudly, “Hey, Mister Shrek, where are you going? Were you really an ogre?”

The client stopped midway through the steps to look at my son. As embarrassed as I could be, I rushed my son back inside, scolded him, and gave him a couple of slaps on the butt to teach him.

I just hope the guy never figures out why my son said that.

1 Thumbs
187

Saving A Damsel From Distress

, , , , , | Right | January 5, 2020

(I have been traveling around Europe with only a small piece of luggage with me. I’m not allowed to bring anything else as my ticket is a simple one, but in Toledo, I have to buy a sword because of who am I as a person. Going to Italy, I pay a fine of €50 to bring Damsel, my sword, with me. This happens when I’m in Italy’s airport again, flying to Madrid in a connection flight so I can go back to my country, Argentina. After giving my passport and ticket, the check-in lady, who looks really grumpy, tells me to give her my luggage and the box with Damsel to weigh them.)

Me: “Oh, no, this one comes with me inside the cabin. The box with the sword goes with the cargo.”

Lady: *annoyed* “The plane is full, so everything has to go with the cargo.”

Me: “I understand. No problem, then. I still have to pay the fine for the box.”

(We both make a pause and I realize it.)

Me: “People have been giving you h*** for this, haven’t they?”

Lady: “Yes! They complain and complain!”

Me: *laughs* “Don’t worry; I understand that this is not something you control. Do whatever you have to do; I’m not going to get mad.”

Lady: “Thank you! You know what? Your ticket from Madrid to Buenos Aires does allow the extra cargo; I’m sending both your things directly to Argentina, so you don’t have to pay the fine.”

Me: “Are you serious? Did you just save me €50?”

Lady: “Yes, have a nice flight!”

(Lady, thank you a lot for your work. Damsel and I are very grateful that you saved this poor writer so much money.)

1 Thumbs
843

Making Italy Great Again  

, , , , | Right | December 2, 2019

Hostess: *in Italian* “Hello, sir, welcome to [Restaurant]!”

Customer: *in English* “Godd*** it, speak English, for God’s sake! Stop this barbaric dead language!”

Hostess: *switching to English* “I’m sorry, sir, but this is Rome, and most people here speak Italian.”

Customer: “Why? They should speak the good, proper language of English, not this freak stuff.”

Hostess: “But, sir, we are in Italy. Most everyone here speaks the language of our country.”

Customer: “Well, they shouldn’t. They’re just dumb to not learn our language as well as their own.”

Hostess: “Well, sir, how many languages do you know?”

Customer: “Just English. Good old English, like we all should.”

Hostess: “Well, I’m sorry, sir, but we cannot serve bigoted a**holes. Goodbye.”

1 Thumbs
952