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I Nail a Motorino

Answering the question, “Do all those daring, zippy motorino drivers weaving in and out of traffic with three centimeter tolerances all around ever miss?”

So, Lady — the Garmin GPS unit that guides us with its stern female voice — is insisting yet again that I drive straight through Florence rather than take the A1 to the A11. So, I’m pulling a “U.” But it’s not really a “U” because there’s some kind of factory entrance I’ll pull into. I’m at a red light, preparing to go left, turn signal on. The light changes, there’s no on-coming traffic and I crank a left and wham. Excuse me: WHAM!

A Honda motorcycle slash scooter (motto: we’re not quite as gay as a Vespa) smacks my driver’s side door.

And down goes Frazier. Kids are okay, Katherine is okay, so I pile out and discover to my great relief that the guy — Stefano — is okay aside from a scrape on his elbow and a certain understandable pallor. I get his bike out of the road and get my car likewise and we have introductions. ”Mi chiamo MIchael, piacere.” Pleased to meet you. We’re of course very solicitous, very worried. We use our bottled water to wash his scrape. We offer Band-Aids. We offer Advil.

It’s an unexpected callback to the post from the other day. Americans — if we don’t kill you, you’re invited to the barbecue.

So we exchange info and call the cops, who are mellow about the whole deal. Here’s the interesting thing: no one called the cops until Stefano did, and I think he did it at my insistence. Something like that happens in the states and out comes every cell phone and fingers punch 911 in unison. Here, no. And no one pulled over to try and help. A guy from the factory came over and told us to get out of the way of the gate.

On the other hand, Stefano told me and then the cops that it was his fault. It was all honest and civilized and straightforward. Meanwhile, I’m filling out the accident report and taking care to note that I was making a legal turn, that I waited until the light had turned green, that I then proceeded safely . . . The American paranoia over lawsuits runs deep.

Then it occurred to me that had Stefano hurt himself badly he’d have nevertheless received medical care. Medical care that did not bankrupt him. And that did not force him into the arms of lawyers who would search for ways to make me and my insurance company pay. If he missed work because of those injuries he’d keep his job. There was no chance, in short, that having had his head bashed in by an American making a perfectly legal turn Stefano would be impoverished, thrown out on the street and end up living in a shelter with crazy people.

A fairly common occurrence — a traffic accident — that in the US can be the start of a downward spiral through overcrowded public hospitals, lawyer’s conference rooms, bankruptcy court and the Salvation Army, was handled in a brisk, rational, businesslike and friendly way. So maybe that’s why no one was calling 911. Maybe it wasn’t quite the emergency it would have been in the States.

Of course I still have to get insurance to pay for the door.

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“I Nail a Motorino”

  1. Blogger Tully Says:

    The Italians have one of the finest healthcare systems in the world as measured by results....and one of the worst as measured by customer satisfaction.

    Begging the question, does it work so well because it avoids overuse through avoidance?

  2. Blogger Dyre42 Says:

    You have even been there a month and you've already caused an international incident.