Sunday, June 20, 2010

Italian Lessons

The first phrase I ever learned in Italian was "Chi ne sa que?"

The literal translation of this question is "Who knows this?" but that isn't what my grandfather told me it meant. And to be honest, the story behind it still echoes in my mind more than the translation.

When he was young, probably around Lauren's age now, my grandfather was walking through the streets of Philadelphia with his father, when someone came up to them and started talking to my great-grandfather. It was a fairly animated conversation, from what my grandfather told me - How you doing? Great, how's the family? Good, good. You? And on and on.

After a while the two adults parted ways, and my grandfather looked up at his dad and asked, "Who was that?"

"Who the hell knows?" replied his father, in Italian. "Chi ne sa que?"

This is the story of my social life.

This was brought home to me the other day, down at the farmer's market that Our Little Town puts on every Saturday morning during the season. We try to go as often as we can - several of the vendors are now or were even beforehand friends of ours, and there's always something good to buy, even on those weekends when it's just kettle corn.

We were buying drinks at one of the stands when a woman sitting nearby started talking to me. She clearly knew who I was and was happy to see me. So we had a very nice conversation, there at the farmer's market. Kim even joined in.

Afterward, Lauren asked me who that was.

"Chi ne sa que, my child. Chi ne sa que."

1 comment:

Unknown said...

At least you're not looking in the mirror when you say that! We still have time before that stage.