25 September 2009

How to cross the street in Rome

Rookie (first time ever): Stare slack-jawed at automotive mayhem, then decide to take a different route or maybe, you know, just stay on this block.

Amateur: Cross in furtive, Frogger-style bursts, then collapse in nervous wreck on other side.

Almost intermediate: Wait for a group of Italians to cross, let them block for you ... until one Vespa driver singles you out for Tourist Bowling.

Intermediate: Cross with nuns.

Advanced-Intermediate: Wait to cross when there's a gap and then feel smug about how you crossed alone, confidently, suavely, just like an Italian. Do not mention to your friends that said gap was roughly the size of the Colosseum.

Advanced: Have faith. Stride confidently into traffic, trusting that the cars will buzz around you and giving a small prayer to the patron saint of pedestrians. (Is there one? There should be. Let's call him Mort.)

Black belt: Same as above, but with YOU blocking for Italians. Or nuns. I'm proud to say I reached this level this morning, on my way to the train station.

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