The Kindness of Strangers

Today was a full day in Palermo and Monreale: historic places, picturesque views, thought-provoking  juxtapositions, and a bride!  But, this entry has little to do with any of those.

At the end of the day in Monreale, we came down a long flight of stairs that led to our bus.  There were several small, open shops offering souvenirs and refreshments. The one with fresh squeezed-before-your-eyes orange and prickly pear juices tempted several of us. A seemingly blind (white cane and sunglasses) man sat along-side.  As I waited my turn, he and I chatted.

It was actually less a conversation than an exchange of friendly words, since my Italian and his English were very similar: almost non-existent.  When my turn came I ordered a small portion of the prickly pear juice. As it was being prepared, I attempted to tell the man that my understanding of Italian was much better than my ability to speak it.  Actually, I tried to say, "my ears are better than my mouth."  I got as far as "my ears are" or maybe "my ear is" and then froze.  How on earth to say "better than"?  I hadn't a clue. Or, that clue was deeply inaccessible. So, I pointed to my mouth, and the man laughed and laughed. (Hence my skepticism of his blindness.)

By then, I was struggling to find correct change for the vendor who didn't want to take my 10 euro note. Before I knew it, the man insisted on paying and put the money on the table. I accepted his offer with a hug and a heartfelt "grazie," and enjoyed my juice, sweetened by a stranger's kindness.

1 comment:

  1. The kindness of strangers. I'm so happy that you're practicing your Italian. Keep at it!