Listening – it’s bloody hard sometimes.

Most of the time, I bite my tongue.

After all, if he wasn’t listening two seconds ago, he won’t be listening now, will he?

We’re talking about things that need to be done. He is going to be there for the Fastweb engineer on Thursday. I want to ask the engineer if he can put a wire from wherever the box goes, through to my studio for my computer. This may be something that he does for cash and, given that we’re in Italy and the wages are so low here, the chances that he will do it are high.

“it will be better,” he says, “as he can do any drilling through the walls before we move all the stuff in.”

I agree. I add, “And I can sort out the connection from my PC to the television before we move, too.”

“That’s not important. It can be done afterwards. It’s more important to find someone to run a pipe from the gas point to the place we want it in the kitchen.”

Well, yes, I know that. after all, without a kitchen, we can’t really move in.

“You’ve got different priorities than me,” he adds.

Well, actually no, I haven’t. The kitchen is the number one priority. The extension for the cooker was given to you to sort out, since you speak Italian and the chances of the plumber speaking English is far less than some technical thing that I should do.

He becomes tetchy because in his head, all I’m worried about is my PC.

“No, the kitchen has to be done before we move in,” I say, “but I also need my computer when we move because of the lessons.”

This, of course, carried no weight. He has already stopped listening to me, if he was even doing that at the beginning. He continues saying things about how our priorities are different and how I’m not concentrating on the right things, etc., etc. I don’t want you to get the wrong impression, I listen to the things he says but, since he’s not listening to me, it is better not to respond. I’ve learnt that much. I cannot argue my point because he misinterprets almost everything I say. I can’t explain. And, anyway, the difference in our languages makes everything more difficult. It’s one of the drawbacks, for certain.

I know that it is better just to let it lie. Although it is a bit frustrating. It means we can’t talk about the thingS we need to do, only the thing he is concentrating on at the moment.

I try to let it all wash over me, and, my strength of will makes it so. After all, it is only this moment and he doesn’t mean to do it. It’s not like it’s going to kill me.

He suggests about moving stuff over. I explain I don’t like doing it. He says he does. Again I get the “I’m not trying to tell you what to do” thing, even if, in reality, that’s EXACTLY what he’s trying to do.

It’s OK. He knows I’m quite stubborn and I’ll just do the things my way anyway.

It is extremely hot. It’s already half nine or so, and it must be close to 30°. We talk about the dogs, as Dino, in particular, is struggling a bit in the heat. He’s going to get some sprayer thing so he can spray him with cool water from time to time. We can try. Anything is worth a try.

He then suggests that, soon, we can start going down to Carrara. Especially because it will be nicer for the dogs. He will have to work some weekends, one of which will be going to Paris. He suggests that I should go down with the dogs on those weekends. I say it will depend on what needs to be done but, secretly, I think I might. I miss the weekends in Carrara – the asparagus and lardo pizza on Friday; days spent on the beach with some books; eating at his Mum and Dad’s; the morning coffee and croissant at the bar overlooking the sea. Yes, I’ve missed those this year even if it’s been for a very good reason.

So, maybe we will go down.

As I’ve written this, I think about something I’ve read recently – listen without trying to form a response in your head at the same time. I must really try to do that. It’s difficult though, isn’t it?

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