On a sweltering Italian summer morning while I was inside my apartment sweating through my yoga I listened to the people ordering their dogs around in the adjacent park. They were just voices and shadows behind the hedge not far from my open window.
A heavy masculine voice: "Bring it here! Hurry up you lazy coward".
A high pitched feminine voice: "Be good. Do your duty. Did you finish?".
I imagined the masculine voice didn't pick up the shit his dog left behind, but the woman had a plastic glove already slipped on her hand. And I thought these dog owners will soon head off to work, but at this very moment it was they who were in command, a command that will be passed over to someone else the moment they put Fido away and prepare to punch-in.
And then I thought about the flat tire on my wife Libera's bike. I told her I was going to fix it, but she insisted I didn't. "Don't bother with it," she said. "It's an old tube. It might just leak again. It's better I buy a new one at the bike store and for a few extra Euro they'll put it on for me."
"You mean you can't stand watching me get angry as I do tedious physical work, often swearing at the tire as I fix it."
"Yes, that's a big part of it."
"This time I won't get angry at my work."
"Each time you fix flat bike tires you say that, but you always get angry and swear. You always do."
She's right. This makes me think how much women are better than men. They rarely swear; they usually have patience for whatever they do. And they're better than men at most things, especially things that need care, tact and brains.
Then there's this Italian library where I'm currently writing. It's as hot as a firecracker outside, but inside it's freezing. I brought a long sleeved shirt with me and I'm wearing it now, but I'm still cold. I feel like a pickle in a pickle jar stuck in the back of a refrigerator that is over-cooling and freezing what's inside. So I blow on my hands, send this off, and go outside to defrost.