The Italian Circle

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Last night I had a surreal experience.  Not my MOST surreal experience ever, but certainly for this year.

After our Italian classes finished a few weeks ago, I kept in touch with one of the girls I met there.  We had been told about a local group that met monthly to talk about all things Italian with guest speakers and, when we found out this month there would be a speaker talking about Italian cuisine, we arranged to go together.

We had no idea what to expect but I had visions of cultured, sophisticated, sociable people standing around drinking wine and munching on nibbles,  laughing and talking with maybe the odd bit of Italian thrown in.  I envisaged them being very cosmopolitan and generally, rather cool.   I decided the social niceties would be followed by a brief talk, maybe a few slides, and then some free food.

What actually happened was we turned up early, only to be greeted by an elderly couple who couldn’t have been a day under eighty.   There were a few others already there and not one was under seventy.  There was a long table, behind which the ‘committee’ were sat, offering red or white wine at £2 a glass and a couple of bowls of crispy things.  (Oh and a plate of parmesan, which was later drizzled in really expensive balsamic vinegar, and some panforte, which was actually rather delicious).

Anyway, the room filled up with more octogenarian and then one of the ‘committee’ members stood up and introduced the speaker.  He got all muddled with his microphone so there was a lot of fussing around but, eventually, our speaker began her talk.   Contrary to what I had expected, she spoke about the history of Italian cuisine, going back to the 13th century and it was actually really interesting, along with the slides of paintings she showed  to illustrate her talk.

Half way through the talk, we glanced across at the ‘committee’ table and noticed two of the old dears had nodded off, arms folded in front of them, heads bowed.  I thought my friend may get an attack of the giggles then and wondered how that might go down with our elderly friends.  She managed to contain herself however, and they slept on.  Across the room another woman was fast asleep too and an old gent in front of us looked worryingly dead.  Fortunately, he woke up later, he was just napping.

We were like fish out of water at this event.  Younger than everyone by years.  I supposed I should have known it would be full of oldies, this is, after all, the sort of thing my mother goes to and she is almost 86.

I hope I am as active as these people (and my mum) when I am that old.  It’s almost a shame you have to get that old to be able to go to these things, or so it seems…where are all the younger people, are they just not interested?  I can’t believe it.

I feel a new venture brewing……..

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