I’m in Rome. And a bit pissed*.
Earlier today I was served lunch in a small Tuscan-Umbrian border town (Chiusi) by a waiter who must have been about eighty. He looked a similar age to my former-estate agent grandfather, who I recently found out is eighty-nine, and given the famous age-defying effects of copious olive oil consumption, my estimate is probably conservative.
To an English reader, this may appear odd. Crazy, mad, unexpected, INSANE! Because in the (shit) country of my birth, waiting tables is seen only as a right of passage job – something one does BEFORE developing a career, certainly not something that counts as one.
Whereas here, and in most of continental Europe, waiting is a respectable, and sometimes aspirational, trade. So what, the guarantee that at least one person on every table wants to fuck at least one person that serves them during the course of a meal may be desecrated, the fact that everyone who eats respects the gastronomic and beverage-based recommendations of their server is surely a much better thing? Here, in EUrope, eating is important. And eating well is even better than that – UNFINISHED AT MIDNIGHT
*When I started writing. Wasn’t until hours later that I “proofread” and uploaded, during which I DID NOT practice alcoholic abstinence.