This morning I checked my blog stats and noticed that for the past four days it’s been viewed by eight people in the Republic of Tanzania; are there that many computers over there? The blog is read by a couple of people over in China, I’m surprised to see someone in the Yemen drop by occasionally and there’s the guy from NYC who follows me and often sends me salacious messages, but that’s a whole blog entry of its own. (You know who you are). So here’s today’s entry…
So I decided at lunchtime today to finally get the spare tyre sorted, it has had a slow puncture for about two months now and by the law of averages I reckon I’ve been driving on borrowed time. I look at the front tyres and decide to replace them at the same time, so I drive the 3 minute journey down the hill to see Nicola.
“How can I help you?” Nicola says, wiping his hands down the front of his overall before extending one towards me. I shake his oily hand and explain that I want new tyres. “You need Italian tyres,” he tells me, then shows me the difference in price for English ones, I see that the English are more expensive and so agree, “Ho bisogno di gomme italiani.”
I tell him three and he looks at me perplexed then laughs, “Three, why three, surely you want 4?” I tell him I need two new front tyres and a spare tyre: (La gomma di scorta)
“Gomma di scorta,” he says loudly, smiles then says it again even louder. I’m instantly thinking I’ve asked for the wrong thing: have I asked for the wheels to wrapped in condoms, did I say, two front and a rubber chicken please, heaven help me if I’ve asked for pencil erasers. “Gomma di scorta,” he says again and shakes my hand with both of his, leaving more oily fingerprints on my wrist.
“You are the first foreigner who as asked for the spare tyre,” he tells me, “We have been asked for, the extra wheel, the fifth wheel and the unused wheel,” he tells me smiling, his white teeth more brilliant due to his oil stained face, “but never has a foreigner asked for, la gomma di scorta.” He’s obviously happy with this and he then writes out the ticket to order the three tyres and then hands me a copy. I look down and see the price has now been reduced by €15.
He promises me they’ll be delivered in 24 hours and I then drive away, it’s now my turn to laugh and loudly say, “La gomma di scorta.”