Using a Senior Subway Card (or How to Argue with Italian Transportation Authorities)

“Are you going to keep me here as a prisoner?” Renzo asks.

As a senior citizen, my father-in-law qualifies for a reduced rate public transportation card. We’re destined for a date with city hall today, and the card functions as expected when we board a tram and the subway. Tutto bene.

Upon exiting, you have to swipe out again; I do so and wait for Renzo on the other side of the turnstile, but his light keeps beeping red, preventing his departure. He swipes again. Again. And again. About 20 times on six different turnstiles.

Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation:

I try to point him in the direction of the transportation employees a few feet away but he is defiant. I mirror his steps from The Other Side as he paces back and forth, mumbling to himself. He finally relents (not a verb he’s accustomed to) and walks over to the authorities.

“Who are you people?” Renzo bursts (Disclaimer: bursts in Italian are equivalent to a slightly elevated indoor voice in Minnesota).

“Who are WE?” they retort. Then, it’s a back-and-forth of who are you to deny me exit, who are you to say we can’t, who is your mother, what did you have for breakfast, word to your nonna.

Kate McKinnon on Saturday Night Live as old person in scooter

Eventually it comes to light that Renzo’s special transport card isn’t valid until after 9:30, when rush hour is over. He possesses the so-called “off peak” senior card, which is cheaper than the regular one (sounds like something my papà would do; hi, Dad).

“But nobody told me!”

“We’re telling you now!”

“Why did you let me come in then but not out?! Are you going to keep me here as a prisoner?”

They seem to realize this discussion could go on for another 20 minutes and decide to open the gate for him. Renzo passes through, continuing to grumble but also admitting to me, out of earshot, “They could’ve given me a fine, but they didn’t.”

“But I didn’t know,” he continues for several blocks as we walk to city hall. “How was I supposed to know? But that’s stupid.”

We cross a piazza and are almost at our destination.

“Now that I think of it,” he pauses, “maybe I did know that I couldn’t travel at that time. Remind me next time, Christina.”

Jennifer Lawrence says OK and gives thumbs up

Alla prossima,


3 thoughts on “Using a Senior Subway Card (or How to Argue with Italian Transportation Authorities)

  1. Remind me next time he says…… I think Italy needs you as much as you needed Italy!!! Also, back to the paperwork etc. When taking a pic for your driver’s license do they let you smile there? Or, are you to have a straight face but can’t stop giggling because of the instructed straight face so your face ends up being a weird mix of something I can’t explain. Asking for a friend of course. Wait, you aren’t driving there, no license to drive needed. Maybe still let me know, for the friend of course.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 😆 I had to take a picture to get my transit card and I just did a slight smile because I didn’t think you were supposed to smile either, and the result is that I look slightly intoxicated (and also shiny, and they squished the dimensions so my cheeks look even chubbier than normal) 👌🤷🏻‍♀️ I’m sure your drivers license is stunning 🙌😍


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s