Your mini Italian lesson for the day:
- Il frizione = the clutch
- I freni = the brakes
- L’acceleratore = the gas
- Le marce = the gears
I remember these words from when my father taught me to drive stick, half a lifetime ago. They made a lot more sense then, when I wasn’t obsessively watching out for potholes. The instructor says them now and when I make a mistake, he says my name – extra hard on the V – and asks me: Why did you do that? No no no! And he slaps my right hand like I’m a bad child. Why? Why? When I tell you to put down the frizione, you have to do it firmly! Why are you pushing le marce like that? Gently! Gently with le marce and the freno but strong with the frizione, okay? Sinistra. I said sinistra – why are you going destra? Mamma mia, nooooo. That’s fourth gear, not second. You were doing so well before, now it’s all going to merda. What are you doing? Slap slap slap.
But I look in the mirrors. And I stay mostly to the right. And no one dies. And when my instructor slaps my hand, it’s so ridiculous it makes me laugh. And today is definitely a better day.