I had a cultural moment this evening. In Anagni, about half way to Naples where I had accompanied my son to his B2-series volleyball game. Three grown men, in their 50-60s, were sitting on the other side of the bleachers with two drums (normal) and a "tromba" in a box-like container that made the most annoying, loud, very loud, screeching, ear-shattering noise. Not just occasionally, he hung onto this thing like a baby to a bottle for the entire game, never letting up.
I had to get up and leave during the third set (in any case, we lost), either that or walk over, pick up the box and throw it out the window.
Funny thing is that everyone I talked to after the game agreed that this noise was 1. excessive (even for a game), 2. "exasperating" 3. even damaging to their eardrums.
But no one considered taking action, or that taking action was an option. There was a certain distance from the whole issue -- pazienza e basta. What can you do about it anyway? Nothing. So why get heated up. My son agreed -- "mom, lascia stare" although it had even bothered him, while playing.
We are not very good with the "pazienza" thing. We are doers, we take action when we feel wronged. We get offended, outraged, we make reports, call lawyers, do something -- even invade another country (oops, no politics please). But in any case, we feel a compelling need to "do".
And it is hard for us to understand that this is an American cultural trait -- the doing thing -- and that not all cultures share this compulsion or, at least, not to the same extent.
A couple of years ago, I spoke on cross-cultural communications at a meeting of the International Women's Forum of Bologna. Following this evening, they started a "cultural moments" forum on their website (www.iwfbologna.com). One woman wrote about an incident in her gym in which the instructor(male) made some very inappropriate comments of a sexual nature aimed at one of the women in particular during the lesson. Afterwards, the locker room was a buzz, but only she (the American) said, "but you must DO something, report this incident to the management". She said that she was the only one to get enraged and demand action. The rest of the women just shrugged their shoulders, "ma, che si puo fare." She had a cultural moment -- a "doing" vs "being" one.
Anyone else out there had a similar experience?