I’ve been here—OK, we figured it out a couple posts ago—seventeen years. And in all that time, there are still things about this country that make me laugh out loud. Particularly when I compare them to their American equivalent. No, it’s not at all that I find the American equivalent superior. It’s simply the sheer difference that’s entertaining in and of itself.
Take pharmacies (one of my favorite things to take into consideration here in Italy as they can be almost museum-quality beautiful compared to their American counterparts.) It seems to me, that in the U.S. along with many other business, pharmacies are there when you need them, 24/7. All bright lights and row-upon-row of “whatever you need” whenever you need it.
Here, things are still clinging, to the best of their ability, to the old way. Though not always the case, pharmacies generally observe the half-day chiusura settimanale and are often opened on Saturday in the mornings only, closing at 12:30. Sunday? Forget it. Except—there are always exceptions (and this one is very useful if you are traveling here)—for the
or, the pharmacies which have been designated to remain open over any given weekend so that people in need can actually get what they need.
I’ve wandered off task. I wanted to talk about something which makes me laugh, and pharmacies being there when I need them doesn’t make me laugh at all. In fact, as you all know, it’s quite a relief on occasion. No. What I wanted to show you, was our neighborhood pharmacy when it’s its turn to be di turno. You’d think perhaps the door would be thrown open in a welcoming fashion with a sign inviting you in even on a Sunday, but no. It’s not like that at all. It’s like this:
You see that little hand-made hole in the night grill? That’s where you go, after you ring the bell, as instructed by the handmade sign pointing to the right. The pharmacist appears at the hole (he has to bend down as he’s rather tall), asks you what you want, and several seconds later comes back with your parcel. You pay (through the hole), and that’s the end of that. No muss, no fuss, no risk of the pharmacy being robbed, no having to actually—God forbid—cross the threshold and go inside. Nope. If you want that luxury you’ll have to wait for Monday.
I think that’s funny.
[If you enjoyed this rather silly post, you might also enjoy “Postcard #2: Farmacia Milanese.”]