One of my favorite words in Italian is menefreghista. I offer the following refined translation:
menefreghista; noun: a person who does not give one flying f*#% Usage: see below.
The Hotel Concierge Re: Seatless Toilet
Rose petals, towel swans, chilled prosecco, porcelain hole. We’re in Tropea for our honeymoon.
Alberto: Tony, um, there’s no toilet seat in our bathroom.
Tony, at the reception desk: Ah yeah, there isn’t one. It’s broken.
Alberto: It’s broken?
Tony: Yeah, since last week. [Pause] But it’s clean, no?
Alberto: Yes, it’s clean.
Tony: And you can use it?
Alberto: Yes, it can be used.
Tony: [Smiles]. Have a good evening.
The Gynecologist Re: My Cervix
Remember Dr. Fredda, the woman who shamed me for keeping my Porta Venezia ajar as she attempted to breach my city wall? I had to return to Sergeant Speculum’s office six weeks later for the results of my Pap test. Entering her domain, I examine my shoes like a child who’s been sent to the principal.
Alberto explains why we are there and another woman hands us an envelope. Results are normal; you are dismissed, she says. Dr. Fredda concurs from her throne in the corner. Praise be.
As we’re walking toward the car, I notice a line that reads alterazioni cellulari reattive associate ad infiammazione. Um, ‘scuse me? Inflammation? What’s that now? Alberto grabs the paper. He is equally concerned. “We need to go back.” What – no, don’t make me return to that torture chamber. No, I’m sure it’s fine. He is on his way up the stairs.
Alberto (very politely) and the clinic employees (very annoyed they can’t escape to lunch) discuss my signorina in the hallway.
Dr. Fredda: I told you there was nothing wrong. What, you don’t trust me?
Alberto: No, dottoressa, of course it’s not that. I just want to make sure we understand everything about the results.
Dr. Fredda: Clearly, you’re questioning me. I said your wife was fine [Scoffs].
Patient [attempting to interject]: He’s just trying to help — Please don’t look at me with your scary eyes — because my language skills aren’t perfect — Oh Gesù Cristo stop yelling — and you’re the first gynecological visit I’ve had in Italy — I can’t believe my gyno is scolding my husband for advocating on my behalf —
Alberto: Ok, ok, yeah, good. We saw the word “inflammation” and wanted to understand what that meant and that it wasn’t cause for concern, because —
Dr. Fredda: And I already told you two minutes ago that her results were normal.
[Dr. Fredda exits stage right. Patient C wonders how much it would cost to get her annual exam in Minnesota without insurance.]
The Women on the Bus Re: Public Spaces
Non è un po troppo?
Isn’t it a bit much?
Un po troppo, Signora repeats
You heard me, troppo girl
The soles of her feet muck up the seat
The bag of groceries claims Nonna’s spot
Mind your own business, she scoffs and swats
Public transit is nasty with my sneakers or not
[My dog’s shit on the sidewalk gives other turds company
My cigarette smoke makes the smog smell sexy
My discarded bottle will keep a drowning turtle afloat]
Troppo girl moves
Watch out! Signora warns
That girl’s shoes were in your posto
Nonna chuckles; You’re a bit troppo
Shoutout to my writing group’s poetry challenge 🙋
The Italian Interweb Re: All Information
I could provide 873 examples of couldn’t-care-less-if-you-find-what-you’re-looking-for Italian websites. Restaurants, for example, rarely consider “Hours” or “Menu” to be important sections of their Angelfire or Geocities storefront — if they even have a URL that says more than “Coming Soon.”
Aside from this phenomenon that we encounter most Friday nights, below is one of my favorite menefreghista web examples. I stumbled upon this page while trying to find volunteer opportunities in Milan; it would’ve been a great resource had I moved here 17 years earlier:
Here are some fun facts from Europe’s Digital Progress Report (2017) that show I’m not just a grumpy expat (but I’m that, too):
“In terms of the propensity of individuals to use Internet services, Italy ranks one from bottom in the EU28 ranking and very little progress has been made since last year. Italian Internet users are still tepid users of advanced services like eCommerce and eBanking, the latter despite high costs of banking services and the reduction in the number of local branches experienced in the last years. The only Internet activity above the average is digital content consumption: listening to music, watching videos and playing games online (79%).”
It’s broken, sì. But you can use it, no? Eh, va bene. Have a nice day.