Friday, February 11, 2011

Being allowed to screw up

There's a small problem that we can't seem to get used to:  the expectation that we need to be on time to everything.  Now I understand appointments with doctors, and important interviews.  Concerts that start punctually I like a lot.  But it seems strange after living in Italy for 8 years where there is a 15 minute (at least) window that is allowed, agreed upon, in informal settings, that when invited to someone's house or for coffee you are chastized severly (this can vary of course according to the amount of type-A stuff in the invitee's blood) for arriving a wee bit late. 

I've learned from my time in Italy to invite folks in your home, make them feel welcome, offer a drink.  When meeting friends there is room for screwing up, being a tad late.  In Rome, it's true that really there are more things out of your control that easily make you lose time (and these are things that most frustrate the daily lives of Roman citizens) but still don't we need to allow some grace, some room for breathing, some moments when we're struggling to get a 6 year old's boots on, or the cat puked on the rug, or some schmuck has parked in front of your car. 

I think one of the best lessons I learned in Italy is to allow some grace, to allow some room for screwing up because we are human, and well...these things are part of what make life what it is.

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