Hard to see what’s really there.

Well that was quick. In a land where anyone can teach a masterclass in patience, that was really quick. And efficient. Just like that – got my first vax. On my way home I listened to a prominent doc say covid 20 is on it’s way. Wonder if it’s already arrived.

But when I arrived at the clinic in Bubbio, a town not far from my own, I was greeted by the Mayor. He was assisting and his presence was a nice touch. He had fun implying I was the first American – both of us knowing I was probably the only one. But he got me thinking. I would have really enjoyed hearing my own accent. Hospital visits and Vax appointments in one’s own language help but it didn’t really matter.

Honestly, everything felt foreign. Even among familiar faces. It was their attitude. For example, when shopping for groceries in Bubbio, or ordering a coffee from Massy or flowers from Valeria, there’s a friendly exchange, there’s managed expectations, and camaraderie. And it’s fun. Here at the clinic, everyone is quiet, every courtesy offered. It’s all process in a land allergic to this concept. Or so I thought.

In a land of artisans and hypochondriacs it was time to be serious. The doctors were busy and efficient, marching from one room back to the other, then across to the room that had the main printer.

It reminded me of this hotel we stayed at in SanRemo, on the Italian riviera. Think we were celebrating something in the days when people did that type of thing. We went to the restaurant downstairs, very art nouveau, all very posh, and counted no less than 14 waiters on the floor, each one terrifically focused, it was a ‘moment in time’.

But that was then and now it was my turn. I was #7. I walked in, said hello to my doctor and we quickly ticked off any issues. Too quickly or so I thought. I was offered the courtesy of an answer, but honestly, everything felt really foreign. The nurse asked me to take off my shirt, gave me the jab and it was obvious I should make room for the next patient.

Sometimes it’s hard to see what’s really there, but here, in the land where pasta is al dente and coffee tastes like milkshakes – in the land where everything is mild; I could see what I hadn’t seen before. There is a time to focus and get stuff done. Here in Piemonte, in particular, they are a uniquely industrious tribe of Italians. This should be obvious by now, but it took a vax appointment to really see it. Especially in a country full of hypochondriacs.

I waited for 15 minutes, as we all did, watching the doctors shuffle in and out of the rooms, then the Mayor came out of the room with the printer and handed me the piece of paper with a date for my next vaccination. He was awfully nice, but it was time to go and so I did.

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