Saturday, February 12, 2011

Getting around!

My parents informed me this week that my car has been sold so allow me a moment of nostalgia about my little red car that served me since 2005. Me and my car we’ve been through a lot together. Apart from it being the only thing that has ever heard me sing out loud to Phantom of the Opera, it also had a car accident, and shared in my heartbreaks and career choices. In fact my car was my safe bubble of emotions, it was the only place I could break out in hysterical tears (kind of like Diane Keaton here) thinking that no one can see this or hear me. 

So why is this of any importance to share? Well because, here in this modern Europen city I use public transport and walking of course! While I have not yet had a desire to cry hysterically (wow, I am trying to imagine how to pull that of on the metro), public transport and going a foot  is something to get used to  for a South African girl who had the luxury of a car. It has been eventful!

So far I loved not using a car. Walking is amazing, my walk to school every morning has become my daily meditation, especially now since the weather has improved. It puts me in a good mood! Even though walking requires less concentration then driving, it does have its obstacles on the way. When walking in Milan there are a few things to watch out for, the most important: dog poop. Its freakin everywhere. You have to watch your step. Number two: cute old people who walks really slow and takes up the whole path with their shopping carrier bags, not cool to bump into them, and not cool when you are late for class.  Number 3: Men who wants to get your number and might follow you home.  I made the mistake of giving one my number in the fear that he might walk all the way to my house with me if I don’t give him my number... and its been two weeks of me ignoring him and still he calls everyday.  I don’t know if i should admire his persistence or feel sad for him.

Then there is the odd occasion when you have to carry something heavy like a printer and you arrive at the metro to realise that there is a strike and you end up walking carrying a printer over 6 blocks. My arms were sore for days.  And yes then there is the Metro!

The metro  I love but fear all at the same time. It is so efficient and I can go anywhere in the city, it is so awesome. Sometimes there are the magical moments when musicians get on and starts playing music (for tips of course but I think it trumps car guards).Using this method of transport does however need some getting used to.  My fear to touch public things had to be overcome, it still freaks me out to hold on to the somewhat sticky handles in the metro, but I’ve come to a point of ignorance (I think).  

Another thing to master is not to fall when the metro comes to halt or pulls away.  It involves the way you stand with your legs apart.  This mastering of surfing the metro comes with experience.  And as it goes, I had to fall to learn first.  One evening me and my friends decided to hit the town which involved taking the metro all the way to the other side of Milan. On boarding I had the wonderful opportunity to fall right onto a man’s lap as the metro pulled away. You know those scenes in the romantic movies where the girl falls onto the man and they fall in love and... Well, I didn’t qiute go like that. The man instead  was kind of old, looked a bit like a bum, smelled like alcohol and saw the opportunity to strike up  a conversation with me. And since the fall already drew most of the attention towards us, I considered it quite unneccesary that he felt the need to speak at the top of his voice with me. It went like this:  “Come ti chiami (what is your name?) “ Being polite i reply: “Edna”. Him: “Cosa (what)? EDNA!!!?” Now the entire tram was looking at us and knew my name.  The conversation continued with really akward moments where we do not understand each other and me trying to not laugh too much (since my friends were practically lying on the floor laughing at me) and dodge his alchol breath. My relief when his stop arrived was short felt as other men who now knew my name came to sit next to me and question me.  Thank heavens our stop arrived and we could dodge them. 

The comedy of public transportation is endless, in fact the people on the metro offer entertainment weekly. Just this week my friends and I had to deal with a random guy who thought it funny to make trumpet sounds into our rolled up posters we were carrying.  Standing next to my friend Edith he randomly bent over with his mouth towards her poster and belted out a sound which is probably supposed to be a trumpet sound. “Poooop poop”.  There was complete disbelief in our faces, in fact Edith even asked: “Did that just happen?” He then proceeded to my poster too. What I cannot understand is how he did not stop doing that when we looked at him in complete disbelief and laughed in his face (I had tears in my eyes for heavens sake).  We had to leave poor Edith alone with him as our stop arrived, luckily she could move in between the people and the man was then just standing on the metro waiting like every other normal person for his stop. RANDOM!

Yeah, public transport is something else. But now I have my metro legs and i am no longer falling all over the place and I am taking buses and trams like it is nothing new. It is becoming an automatic action, it must be a sign that I am settling in.

So on this note, goodbye my little red car, you served me well , please keep my tears and bad singing a secret from the world and may your new driver love you too! If anyone in Milan ever see a girl crying hysterically on the metro, just know, there is no other way anymore. 


Anel said...

Cool blog! Geniet die Metro, klink interessant!

Edna said...

Dit is baie!! Ek sien so baie snaakse goed! Alles hier is 'n avontuur.

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