Last Monday, just back from Liguria, I walked out onto the sidewalk to run my errands, and I was hit by a missile from a pigeon passing overhead. Fortunately, her aim was bad, and my head was spared, but the right knee of my jeans was thoroughly soiled, and I had to go back inside to change for a fresh start. Did I say, “Oh, shit!” Well, yes, I did. But inside, my honorary Italian said—
Porta fortuna literally means “It brings luck.” And, yes. Being shat upon by a bird brings you luck in this country, as do a host of other unsavory experiences. Which is, I guess, the whole point. It’s karmic balance, no? A bird ruins your beehive, but you have the satisfaction of knowing that destiny will heretofore smile upon you. Ditto, if you step in a pile of dog-doo. People may pass around you at a wide radius, but you have the last laugh: You are lucky! You will have great good fortune! The very soles of their Jimmy Choo’s may be spotless, but who knows what lurks behind the next corner for them. It is foretold…
But my favorite superstition by far is the one that equates spilt wine with good luck—Attention!—IF it is dabbed behind the ears. Whenever we spill anything in the wine family at the table, all present—children included—are dabbed post-haste behind both earlobes with the wasted liquid. You may not be used to having the aroma of Barolo emanate from your most intimate pulse point, but believe me, it’s better than the unlucky alternative. So walk breezily under telephone wires and through dog parks. Pour your wine with jovial—even careless—abandon. The worst that can happen is that you get through your day luckier than you started it.
Same thing in France, except for the spilled wine one – which I love.
In France, they also say that if the wine forms a bubble just after pouring a glass, it means you’ll be receiving a letter. If two bubbles form, two letters. -A
I got completely OBLITERATED by pigeon droppings with a friend of mine inside the Gare du Nord about 15 years back. We’d checked out of our hotel and had no choice but to board the train, so we went into the bathroom to try and wash our hair in the sinks, but the woman who was stationed there (you know, those women you have to pay when you go in the john) yelled and screamed at us and told us we couldn’t use the sinks and called us, “You filthy Americans!” at the top of her lungs. I’ll never forget it. I wonder how much luck I have to thank that experience for.
I was pooed up on by a pigeon recently and later that day I won a prize in a raffle, so it must be true.
You see! That proves it!!!
I love this, especially since I also received the good fortune delivered by pigeon in Italy once in Bologna, but never heard about the wine spilling. Klutz that I am, I’m going to try to spread this idea here in France. Shhhhh.
Klutzes are, you see, very lucky people. Haven’t you found this to be true????
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