Copyright © Louise Bostock 2007-2013. Please give credit where credit is due.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Baptism by carabinieri

Twenty-four degrees at 11am. Cloudy and windy.

Yesterday, while driving the two dotties to the festa dei palloncini, I was with some relief entering the Cannobio 50-clicks-an-hour-zone, when, Whammo!, out jumps a boy in blue with his red palletta and waves me over to a stopping place. I narrowly miss taking him out (and I don't mean on a date).

He approaches the window, unaware of his recent brush with the everlasting. His chum has what seems to me to be a rather threatening sub-machine gun held at the ready, and they're both wearing bullet-proof vests over their jackets (just so you know they're ready for the rough stuff).

"Buongiorno signora. Licence please." I jump for my purse and flourish my shiny new licence in his face. I see a fleeting sadistic grin as he notes the date on the licence and the enormous P signs in the front and rear windscreens. A greenhorn.

"Libretto della macchina."

"Erm, sorry?"

"Car registration documents."

I scrabble about among the wine guides, the maps of Burgundy and Alsace and the used baby wipes. Is this it? No. Is that it? No. Could it be tucked in the back of the sun visor. No.

"Perhaps I should ask the audience." Joke.

My subliminal vision spots a slightly menacing shift in the angle of the sub-machine gun.

"May I call my husband?"

AJ farts.

"Sure."

Five minutes later, AJ's smelliest still hasn't dispersed, but at least Italy's finest has checked my credentials and found I'm not yet listed as one of Europe's most wanted, even though I might be driving the world's most battered. I'm ordered to have a nice day and left to negotiate getting out of the stopping place, which is thoroughly blocked by what would once have been Britain's greatest - a Land Rover Defender. Having executed a deft 8-point turn, I head towards the road, and momentarily forget which side of it I'm supposed to be driving on.

The sub-machine gun quivers with suppressed laughter.

I don't care. I drive off, not humiliated but exhilarated. Now I know for sure I'm a real, bona fide, baptised-by-carabinieri, autista.




The start of the story :
Learning to drive in Italy : No. 1
Learning to drive in Italy : No. 2
Learning to drive : denouement


Home


Copyright © Louise Bostock 2007, 2008. All rights reserved. Please ask first.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Made me smile....

BB

Louise said...

I'm glad!

Katy B said...

This made me laugh like a drain - Ican just picture the look on the policeman's face when your son let off! Hilarious

Michelle said...

Ahhh... and you're finally among the masses. I'm glad I learned to drive when I did -- and that I don't have to do it in Italy. I don't quite have the guts for it, I know!

Charity Childs-Gevero said...

You know what? This whole story was really, really entertaining and funny and beautiful! Yes, beautiful! Because you write it beautifully!

It must be just a dream to be living in Italy! I know it has always been my dream!

I wish I was born in either Italy or Greece! Sigh...oh to dream and dream again! :)

shellee said...

That's great! Thanks!

Monday, 12 May 2008

Baptism by carabinieri

Twenty-four degrees at 11am. Cloudy and windy.

Yesterday, while driving the two dotties to the festa dei palloncini, I was with some relief entering the Cannobio 50-clicks-an-hour-zone, when, Whammo!, out jumps a boy in blue with his red palletta and waves me over to a stopping place. I narrowly miss taking him out (and I don't mean on a date).

He approaches the window, unaware of his recent brush with the everlasting. His chum has what seems to me to be a rather threatening sub-machine gun held at the ready, and they're both wearing bullet-proof vests over their jackets (just so you know they're ready for the rough stuff).

"Buongiorno signora. Licence please." I jump for my purse and flourish my shiny new licence in his face. I see a fleeting sadistic grin as he notes the date on the licence and the enormous P signs in the front and rear windscreens. A greenhorn.

"Libretto della macchina."

"Erm, sorry?"

"Car registration documents."

I scrabble about among the wine guides, the maps of Burgundy and Alsace and the used baby wipes. Is this it? No. Is that it? No. Could it be tucked in the back of the sun visor. No.

"Perhaps I should ask the audience." Joke.

My subliminal vision spots a slightly menacing shift in the angle of the sub-machine gun.

"May I call my husband?"

AJ farts.

"Sure."

Five minutes later, AJ's smelliest still hasn't dispersed, but at least Italy's finest has checked my credentials and found I'm not yet listed as one of Europe's most wanted, even though I might be driving the world's most battered. I'm ordered to have a nice day and left to negotiate getting out of the stopping place, which is thoroughly blocked by what would once have been Britain's greatest - a Land Rover Defender. Having executed a deft 8-point turn, I head towards the road, and momentarily forget which side of it I'm supposed to be driving on.

The sub-machine gun quivers with suppressed laughter.

I don't care. I drive off, not humiliated but exhilarated. Now I know for sure I'm a real, bona fide, baptised-by-carabinieri, autista.




The start of the story :
Learning to drive in Italy : No. 1
Learning to drive in Italy : No. 2
Learning to drive : denouement


Home


Copyright © Louise Bostock 2007, 2008. All rights reserved. Please ask first.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Made me smile....

BB

Louise said...

I'm glad!

Katy B said...

This made me laugh like a drain - Ican just picture the look on the policeman's face when your son let off! Hilarious

Michelle said...

Ahhh... and you're finally among the masses. I'm glad I learned to drive when I did -- and that I don't have to do it in Italy. I don't quite have the guts for it, I know!

Charity Childs-Gevero said...

You know what? This whole story was really, really entertaining and funny and beautiful! Yes, beautiful! Because you write it beautifully!

It must be just a dream to be living in Italy! I know it has always been my dream!

I wish I was born in either Italy or Greece! Sigh...oh to dream and dream again! :)

shellee said...

That's great! Thanks!