Friday, October 1, 2010

Italian Time

I don't know where I heard that Italy was a country ruled by efficiency. Probably on the same fictional TV show that I remembered showing giant snails the size of Alsatians sliming their gargantuan way past a disinterested man, which I only realised clearly don't exist when I took a second to think about it at the embarrassingly late age of about 17.

Maybe it's the oft-quoted but historically incorrect trivia about Mussolini making the trains run on time that gave me this mistaken impression of Italian efficiency. I'm not saying that Italy is a country in serious need of a fascist dictator to sort things out at the cost of the peoples' democratic freedom, but I am implying it heavily.

Italian Time: theory

Whereas the concept of Relative Time theorises that time moves more slowly from the perspective of travellers at higher velocities, Italian Time is more grounded in chaos theory.

In layman's terms, this theoretical concept states that trains, buses, ferries and all other forms of public transport in Italy will be delayed by between 40 minutes and two hours because the seven men required to un-tie a rope or shout at someone through a window are too busy standing around talking loudly into each other's faces to do anything else. Failing this, the electrics will fizz on and off for two hours before they realise the train isn't actually working and send you home.

Presumably, the women are off somewhere running the country.

Because I am the guy who always arrives unnecessarily early for everything, the phenomenon of Italian Time inevitably doubled my time spent waiting around while in Italy, especially on the last day when I was travelling for over 24 hours from A (Naples) to B (Corfu). Maybe planes aren't so evil after all. To pass the time and let off steam, I made up some excellent jokes.

Italy jokes

Q: What does the agreeable Italian ferry sail on?
A: Ci

Q: How many Italian men does it take to stand around chatting and get paid despite not visibly doing anything?
A: At least seven

Q: Why is the Italian flag green, white and red?
A: Several Italian regions adopted the tricolour flag in the late 18th century, and this was subsequently adopted as the flag of the Italian Republic in 1802 and Kingdom of Italy in 1805. We are laughing and learning. Mainly learning.

Ciao, Italia! Hopefully I will find more things to annoy me about the Greeks, so you come out looking better by comparison. I'm not racist, I just hate humanity.

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