Those people who read yesterday’s post will know my concern for my general wellbeing and survival following yesterday’s completely unintentional mistake relating to the iconic Italian legend that is Mrs P, (click on this link to learn more…..).
Well, initially this morning I was lulled into a sense of security as I drove through the M6 roadworks unhindered without signs of foundations being dug, no cement in sight and no shady characters wearing dark glasses and big, full length dark coats.
Then it started – very discretely at first, so much so that I would never have noticed, which I believe is the first step in psychological warfare.
Yeap, there was an advert for Dominos Pizza on the radio. Under any other circumstances this would have been so innocuous that I would have treated it with the disdain that I treat all mass media advertising. However, it reminded me of yesterday’s events and more to the point the possible consequences. I assume that this is a form of product placement that is not the norm.
Anyway, the advert played a couple of times more during the journey – each time adding to my neurosis.
With an air of vague relief at not being under 20 feet of concrete on the M6, (although as I sit here in the arrivals area of the airport I am convinced there are plenty of people wandering around with syringes filled with glowing substances of varying origins…..), I arrived at the airport. Filled the hire car up with fuel and headed to the car hire centre to swap it in for a bigger model.
This is one of the problems with collecting initially the two men in my life and later the daughter from school. Where as up to now I have been quite content trundling around the north of England in my ‘small’ hire car, when it comes to the whole crowd being transported around then more space is required.
While I am classed as the ‘short arse’ of the family, the children have inherited their Dad’s long legs and are disproportionally tall for their ages. Don’t get me wrong, I am delighted about this even if it does mean that I am already hurtling towards being the shortest in the family. Hence the need for bigger hire car.
So, off I went today to my regular haunt of the airport’s car rental village. It is a tad disconcerting when you walk in and the staff greet you by name, ask how the family is and how the weather is in Cumbria. It sort of makes you think that they know you too well, that you spend far too much time, (and therefore money), with them and that the time may have come to buy a car in the UK.
Anyway, I digress again – apologies.
So one car handed in and another signed out.
No problem I thought to myself as I climbed in, the change of car should hopefully throw anybody with sinister intentions off the scent – well actually I didn’t, that bit was poetic licence.
I did all the regular checks, mirrors, seat position, cup holder etc before I started the engine to do the most important functions of all – pair my phone and sort the radio.
It was then, like a bolt of lightening that sent an adrenalin burst through my body and almost made me produce a puddle on the drivers seat, that it happened. The next subtle, psychological manipulation of my ongoing concern for my physical well being.
The language setting for the audio system was Italian. Yes, Italian. This cannot be pure coincidence, no. Of the millions of cars I have hired over the years I have never had an audio system that is in anything other than in English.
By this point I was shaking uncontrollably, checking the mirrors to see if anybody Mafia like was approaching and desperately fumbling with the settings to change the language.
However, the more I fumbled the more the language settings rebelled and that combined with the fact that the instructions were in Italyan, obviously, meant that I was descending down into a hole of panic, confusion and a frozen audio system.
I promptly locked the doors and tried to focus logically on the issue. Eventually I managed to change the settings to English. Phew! The upshot and learning point of that little experience is that I have today learned that ‘annullo’ means cancel in Italian.
Now, you would have thought that between the pizza adverts and the car’s audio system being in Italian that would have been enough excitement in relation to our flamboyant, expressive and romantic European cousins, but no.
Having taken up residence in the relatively quiet arrivals area of the airport I felt reassured to be in a public place – despite the threat of syringes filled with glowing substances, with or without my name on them.
I sat down on one of those rows of four seats which looked misleadingly comfy but actually are bum numbingly hard – good job it is today and not two weeks ago immediately post Spinathon!
No problem I thought to myself. After a few minutes I was joined by two young ladies – aged probably early twenties. Again no problem.
Then, there was a problem. They started to chatter. At first I told myself I was being neurotic as I suspected that I was picking up Italian. Then, I told myself that it couldn’t possibly be Italian. Then, as the conversation went on, I told myself that my brain was playing games with me that really they were Russian, (not that wise as Russia has its own Mafia type organisation and as my Russian is marginally more advanced than my Italian, I knew deep down that my mind was talking rubbish).
Eventually I plucked up courage and asked the question, ‘Excuse me but you are Italian aren’t you?’. Understandably they looked rather surprised and answered in the positive. At this point visions of concrete passed through my head. I blurted out in vague panic that I don’t speak Italian but was just curious – at which point they side shuffled to put some space between me and them.
The situation was not helped a few minutes later when I jumped up with a yelp – inadvertently kicking one of them – as severe pins and needles set into my leg .
At this point they side shuffled further away.
I have to say that at the time of writing they have been sat next to me for sometime, (the flight with themes I my life onboard is delayed – God bless BA), and I ambeginni g to think that their presence is coincidence. I do not think that Mafia types who are intent on no good will really sit and eat chocolate muffins pre-heinous act somehow.
That’s it – I give up! I have been so engrossed in writing this post that I did not notice they have been joined by a coach load of pasta loving fellow countrymen – my life is over, they are here in force. There are hand gestures galore, you need a risk assessment just to walk to the Spar across the way.
This was the scale of the Italian invasion – a coach load of Italian students who decided to sit with me!!!
I am a nervous wreck!
it is at this point that I would like to reiterate that everything on the Every Inch Of Tarmac blog is always true and based on fact. There may be a little poetic licence at times but it is all genuine.
Some people may question today’s train of events after yesterday’s Mafia related post, but I can assure you that these events have all occurred today and yes, despite the joking and jest, even I am getting slightly concerned….
I would sign off now with my usual ‘Laters’, but at this moment I am not retain there will be a ‘later’…….?????
Don’t forget to donate, this is all about raising money for Tommy’s