Thursday, March 8, 2012


Le strade di San Francisco le conosco come le mie tasche. Le percorro tutti i giorni, tutte!
La cosa che preferisco delle strade di San Francisco e' che si aprono ad infinite possibilita'. La retta non e' il tratto piu' breve tra due punti. A volte, dirigendosi dalla parte opposta, si arriva dove si vuole andare, in meno tempo. La geometria a me mi fa un baffo.
Il mio mezzo di trasporto di ordinanza, la mia "batmobile", si chiama Odissey: un nome, un programma.
Avrei potuto scegliere una Sorento, se non fosse stato per quella erre mancante; o una Sienna, peccato per la enne di troppo (l'ortografia nell'acquisto di una vettura e' importante). Invece L'Odissea me la sono proprio andata a cercare: era giocoforza che avrei trascorso molte ore lontana da casa, guidando in circolo, cercando di mordermi il fanalino di coda.
Quello che mi serviva era un veicolo ad otto posti, buono per trasportare un'intera squadra di calcio e la sua tifoseria; buono per raccogliere l'occasionale bimbo randagio; buono per accumulare provviste in caso di esplosione atomica del giorno dopo.
Le strade di San Francisco, una volta dotati di cambio automatico, sono un gioco da ragazzi. Piu' che gioco, un videogioco: uno di quelli in cui stai percorrendo una strada piana e dritta e, al momento in cui giri l'angolo, c'e' la fossa delle Marianne. I miei passeggeri non soffrono la macchina, soffrono il mal di mare.
Nonostante questo, ai miei passeggeri non manca mai l'appetito.
Non importa a quale ora del giorno o della notte o a che punto della digestione, non appena si sale in macchina, immancabilmente, c'e' qualcuno che ha fame. Non la fame del tipo "che languorino, chissa' cosa si mangera' per cena...", ma la fame che "se non mangio qualcosa adesso vado in coma ipoglicemico o mi lamento rumorosamente fin che non mi sazi".
Il coma mi va anche bene, ma al lamento mi tocca lanciare la spugna.
Neanche avessi l'Arbre Magique al profumo di brasato!
Adesso quasi quasi contatto la Honda e suggerisco la messa a punto di un modello di minivan dove, al lato del conducente, c'e' una griglia per arrostire le salsicce.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Having previously listed the pros and cons of both the American kid and  the Italian , I feel it's now time to talk about the Italian-American child, the one I have to take responsibility for.
It's now proven that the Italian-American kid represents the worst of both worlds. Just a few examples. He appreciates you cooking for him, but insists on helping.
He shows initiative and imagination, but doesn't clean up after himself.
He is so fearless to climb on the library roof, but not independent enough to come down on his own, without the help of the fire department.
He has the drive to conjure up a lemonade stand, but can't squeeze a lemon.
He sits down for ice cream and stands for salads; eats hamburgers with the use of silverware, and soup with a straw.

If you really want to know, this kid happens to be a girl. A mythological creature not so different from a Chimera, custodian of two, not always compatible, genetic components:
the ones that trickled down through time from the "Pioneers", and the ones that were chiseled from the "Genovese" stock.
On one side, the urge to push the limits; on the other, the urge to deny them.
On one side, someone that wants to climb the highest tree to touch the sky; on the other someone that knows her mom will take out the rosary beads at the mention of a tree.
On one side someone who is encouraged to do things on her own ("why don't you make your own breakfast?"), on the other, someone who is under constant death threat ("if you spill the milk I will kill you!"). This dichotomy needs to be dissolved before we are all made to lie on a psychoanalyst couch.
Especially because the aforementioned girl is not an only child, but rather the first of a long series.
Four in all. All four, girls. All of them hybrids.
I have tried to tame them. Some good came out of that.
Therefore I etched a diabolical plan with few objectives:
#1 Promote independence and stretch as much as possible the radius of the umbilical chord;
#2  Foster team spirit (One for all, all for one........all against me);
#3 Refine sense of direction;
#4 Force myself to be more of a pioneer and less than a puppeteer;
#5 Get a few hour of peace, if not (dare I say it?) sleep.

And this is how it happened that last Sunday I begun what shall be referred from now on as:
Here's how to proceede.
Grab a group of girls aged between eight and thirteen, girls used to go about their business in a glass bubble (it's better if these girls are related to you by blood, there is a law about it - not my law) .
Blindfold them.
Drop them off at a random address in town, as long as it is remote.
Give each five bucks (for a more challenging version of the operation you can use foreign currency or Monopoly money) and a map of the city (again, not necessarily the city you are in).
Take away the blindfolds and explain to them that they have four hours to find their way home.
Leave the engine of the car idle so you can make a run for it before any objection is raised.
Don't worry, you will have a few seconds before their mouth will overcome the paralysis.

And so it happened that last Sunday I kidnapped my own daughters and abandoned them by the San Francisco Zoo.
Would they make it?
Would I?
As it turns out, I underestimated them.
In the four hour time allowance they managed to:
have lunch at their favorite restaurant; pilot themselves downtown, navigating a complex net of public transportation; visit the Mecca of make up, get a make over and a decent amount of samples;
last but not least, be extremely proud of themselves.

The girls are now asking me to repeat the operation on a weekly basis.
They did not catch me unprepared, phase two of my plan has already been activated:
I wonder how they would get back from Yosemite National Park with a map of Amsterdam!