Sunday, January 07, 2007

The end and the beginning

It's traditional custom in Italy, the last day of the year, to wish "A good end and a good beginning" and I think I do not want to hear such a wish anymore. The days between Christmas and new year's eve were pretty uneventful, spent going to work as any other day and , for once, without the stress of deciding what to do the last of the year. In fact, Susanne was supposed to fly in and arrive around 11 pm at Fiumicino. Now, considering that Alitalia has a terrible record at flying on schedule, especially on holidays, that she had to make a stop in Milan and that Fiumicino has an awful record when it comes to baggage delivery, I was fully prepared to spend the midnight in the waiting corridor of the airport. Yet, it was not so. In fact, I almost spent it in front of the damn airport.

What happened was that, thanks to Susanne's incredible skill of fitting stuff in her Mary Poppins' like backpack and a nice Alitalia's officer, she managed to switch flight in Milan and arrive in Rome at 9.30. With barely the time to reach the airport, I jumped on the car as my father arrived bringing a guest (our former neighbor from the old house) and leaving dinner behind and off I went, reaching the place just in time to pick her, while my mobile was all a ring of messages wishing me a good ending of the year.

And then it happened. We got back to the car and, taken by a moment of madness, I picked up the phone to call home and announce that we would had been back in 45 minutes top. The Gods above didn't miss my act if hubris tho and as I turned the key... nothing happened. Worse, something happened, and was that kind of noise that no driver would ever want to hear, and surely not the 31st of december with midnight nearing.

The car was dead, dead as only a dead car can be and nothing I could try while wearing a full suit would revive her. Much to my desperation, the battery had gone where no battery goes with any chance of coming back, the good old "push and start" wouldn't work and not myself, not apparently anyone in the airport, police included, ad some damn cables to connect it to another car. So it was that my year ended giving 120 euros to a tow car's man for a 25 minutes job: he came, sparked my engine, got the money and went with a wonderful "And happy new year, have a good end and a good beginning".

As I got home it was already a quarter to midnight and there was barely the time of a bite before fireworks had to be fired, champagne drunk and all the other rites performed. And I must say, between fireworks, sparkles, wine and, most than anything Susanne... well, the beginning made me forget the end.

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