This phrase sums up a lot about Italian mentality. It’s more than a mentality, it’s a movement (or lack of should I say). And it’s one that has become part of my very soul. Hence my lack of activity for such a long time on this website. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to write, it’s just that life sometimes gets in the way and cliched as it may sound I have been busy doing, well, nothing.
When I first arrived, I remember finding the lack of purpose frustrating. I’m from London, I have deadlines and time restraints and things to do, lots of them. The very idea of going “in giro” which literally translates as “in a loop” to me made no sense, why would you wander without a direction ?
I was mystified by the seemingly immovable characters, propping up the bars without ever really ordering more than an espresso every four hours. What are they doing there and why don’t they have anywhere to go? Even the policemen make up part of this repeated image as if even crime can wait. It’s that slight roll of the eyes or the pause before standing, the blowing out of cheeks and the total lack of urgency that makes doing nothing so foreign to a Londoner like me.
And then the years pass, the sun shines, the wine pours, Englishisms disappear and Calabrese character traits engrain themselves in your personality and without knowing it, along with all of the other things you learn living here you too develop the art of doing nothing. And it’s beautiful. Time becomes flexible with everything just becoming a vague approximation. The need to overpack your days, stuffing as many experiences into one 24 hour period become a totally alien concept.
Days pass, weeks merge together and time flies. I have been undeniably busy. Doing what? I’m not sure. OK, I’ve had another baby, returned to work, spent a long time trying to figure out this parenting lark. Family has, as it rightly should, taken centre stage and we’ve dealt with the unbelievable highs and earth-shattering lows accordingly.
I’ve spent a large part of the last year staring at this view, and not getting bored. Then this morning, with a sigh, I turned my computer back on and realised that while doing nothing has its sweet moments, life is too short to stagnate. So, here I am.