More things like home but not ….

I’m enjoying the slightly askew aspects of living in Rovinj.

There are of course,  ubiquitous cell phones, like at home – but here no one answers their telephone in a restaurant or store.  If it rings, they get up, walk outside, answer and have their conversation, then return to their coffee or shopping.  I’ve never seen anyone using their cell phone while sitting at a table with other people – on their own while having a coffee, yes, but never when someone else is at the table.  I like it.

Billboard advertising exists, though I have to say, I’m really enjoying seeing women that look like real women.  That is, they are not skinny, air brushed, media ideas of perfection.  Attractive of course but not unreal.  Makes me feel as if I’m part of the world instead of “other than”.

This time of year is clearly the season for home and building repair.  A short time after we got here we began to see scaffolding going up all over the place.  Entire buildings were encased and soon crawling with workers.  The thing that is different  here is that there are no radios blaring from work sites.  Only the sounds of tools, guys talking to each other, old ladies stopping to ask what’s going on and how long will it take and wouldn’t it be better if you did it this way?  When you pass by who ever is at ground level says hello.

Just this week there have been some Christmas decorations going up.  Lights on the poles in the square, electric stars and bells hung from the street lamps along the winding cobblestone streets leading up to St. Eufemia – the big church on top of the hill. I spotted a Christmas tree at the little mall up the hill.  But no annoying Christmas music blasting from stores for the last 12 weeks.  Perhaps radio and television ads are going strong but since I don’t understand Croatian and we don’t get Croatian television I don’t know about that.  Nice.

There is another ting like home but not quite.  This is more a matter of degree than difference. It is the absolute genetically predetermined ability of teenage girls to produce a look of such scathing superiority and ennui simultaneously as to whither the strongest of us.  I have certainly had this look directed at me while teaching, and by sales clerks, waitresses, baristas, and a few government workers.  I usually manage to negotiate the situation with my own baleful stare. But here!  Yikes!  I could feel my eyebrows wither … my heart began to beat too quickly and I immediately felt compelled to apologize for what ever insult had led to the look; past, present or future.  It is the look of home but turned up about 700 degrees.  It could fell a nation, stop armies in their tracks.  We can only hope that these young women realize their power and choose to use it only for good, otherwise we are all in danger of being turned to stone.


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