I can say many things in Italian. I can say, “The child is under the yellow plane.” I can also say, “The child is on the table.” Thank you, Rosetta Stone. I am hoping that my ragazzo will be neither under the plane or on the table and so have switched to the Pimsleur method. I listen to the CDs in my car and now I can say, “Where is your husband?” and “I am Mrs. Jones.” There is a calm male narrator who introduces each lesson: “This is lesson 19 of Pimsleur’s Italian 1.” I like knowing where I am. But then the plot heats up. “Imagine you are in your hotel room,” the narrator says. “You hear a knock on the door. Say, ‘Entree.'”
So, I say, “Entree” and, the narrator says, “A strange man enters the room. He introduces himself as Signor B—-. Say, ‘I am Very pleased to meet you.'”
So, I say this. And then the Signor speaks a lot of words very quickly. The narrator intervenes. “Now, say, ‘Please speak more slowly.’ Ask him, ‘Where is your wife?’ Explain to him, ‘My husband is not here.’ (and so, here we are, me and Mr. B— alone in my hotel room). But then the scene shifts and we are in a restaurant and I am struggling to say fifty six. Or ask for some water minerale.
We leave on Saturday afternoon. I have been staring at maps of the various airports we travel through. None of them make sense. And the emails I have been receiving from hotel managers are warm but alarming: “Welcome Mr Charlotte to our suggestive quarters. Our lovable inn is nestled in vegetation in the green countryside of hot sicilia.” But then who knows what my Italian sounds like. My Sicilian friends here in Gloucester have told me to say very little. Point and write, they say because they can’t understand anything that I say. Even when I told them the boy was under the green car.