Wednesday, July 26, 2006

NO viva italia

I probably shouldn't take this out on the whole country of Italy, but I am tempted to rescind my previous "viva Italia" post because of something that happened to me on Monday morning. Okay okay, I guess my support of Italy still stands, because I know a lot of great Italians, and there are bad apples in every bushel or whatever, but jeez.

I should have known trouble was coming when an Irish guy who was checking out of the hostel on Monday morning told me that there was an Italian dude in his room who had come in the past two mornings at 3 AM, turned on all the lights, blasted music, ate chips, and then told everyone else in the room that if they wanted sleep, they should "go to a hotel." Then, I should have seen it coming even more when everyone in the hostel checked out at the normal time (10 am) except for ONE person, an Italian guy.

An hour after checkout time, the Italian cruised down to reception, reeking of booze, and tossed his key on the desk in front of me. "I want-a to check-a out," he said. I said, quite politely, "Okay, you're a little late so we're going to have to keep your security deposit." (That's the rule if you check out an hour late). That's when he flew off the handle and started screaming at me and leaning across the desk, which made me think he was going to slap me. Help-a!

Within the next two minutes, this angry Italian screamed at me to shut up ("SHUT-a UP-a!!"), accused the "Messican girl" (the housecleaner) of throwing away his "lens contact" and said we owed him $30, mocked my voice, and paced back and forth angrily in front of the desk, as if he was debating whether to jump over the divider. I started shaking and got my manager. Of course, the guy started screaming at my manager, but still directed his wrath mostly in my direction.

Eventually, we gave him back his deposit just to make him go away, although if it had been my decision, we would have called the police, or at least fake called the police to freak him out, and kept his $10 deposit. What a dick. But, to my credit, I maintained my cool and said, "There's no need for you to speak to me so rudely," when I could have said, "go f***-a yourself-a." I resisted.

After he left, I was all shaken up and my voice was quavering when I helped other guests for about 20 minutes, but I got over it. It's an odd experience being screamed at by a complete (presumably non-insane) stranger. Like, the other day when I was walking to work and a crazy man called me a bitch as I walked by, I just rolled my eyes and kept walking, because the dude's clearly nuts (plus he called the girl after me a bitch, too, so it wasn't just me). But when someone (outside of your family) who doesn't appear to have lost their marbles yells at you and makes fun of you, it's severely off-putting.

Later, the Irish guy who had complained about the Italian to me came back into the hostel to pick up his luggage, and I told him what had happened. "Yeah, I'm not surprised," he said. "Don't worry, one of these days he's going to get the s*** kicked out of him." Comforting.

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