On Tuesday Flavio restored my flagging faith in mankind:
I had just done a great big shopping at one of the local supermarkets. It seemed like the day to buy everything heavy: 20 lbs of kitty litter, 6 liters of water, a dozen cans of beer, plus the usual foodstuffs. Having gotten it all stowed in my trusty scooter, I started her up and motored about 50 feet. Cough, cough, splutter, ominous silence. Poor old scooter just flat out quit. Flavio and one of his friends were across the street and watched as I fruitlessly tried to get the darn thing started again. An old gent in a stylish fedora sporting bermuda shorts and an ace-bandaged ankle walked by and advised in passing, “spegna le luce, signora” – turn off the lights, which I did.
In frustration I parked the scoots and began weighing my options. The Captain was engaged and I didn’t want to disrupt what he was doing. It was, by this time, almost 1 p.m., and our scooter guy, Simone, would have gone home for lunch. I was just about to head off to my friend Madelena’s paneficio to throw myself on her mercy when Flavio and his friend crossed the street and started tinkering. They spent half an hour working on the scooter, to no avail. They opined, and were later proved right, that I needed a new spark plug (‘candele’ in Italian – lovely word).
I was feverishly re-weighing options (by now Madelena would’ve gone home for mid-day) when Flavio asked where I lived. I told him San Maurizio di Monti, and without a moment’s hesitation he offered to take me home. “Oh no,” I replied, “It’s too far – 8 or 10 kilometers.” He answered with a shrug and some words which I took to mean, “No problem.”
So he stowed all the groceries under his seat, and I hopped on the back of the big Burgman 400 and enjoyed a smooth and stately ride home. It was such a nice thing to do! How to say thanks? I offered lunch at Rosa’s across the street, but he declined, got on his scooter and drove back down the mountain.
I don’t know anything about this man except that he’s one of Rapallo’s gentlemen, and he did me a truly nice turn that day. I hope I can find him – we’ve got a bottle of wine with his name on it. Thank you, Flavio!