It was the coldest night of the year, in the UK, it was shiver factor ten, which translated into Sardinian language, meant you needed an overcoat and maybe a scarf. My mother had caught the bug that seemed to have been doing the rounds in my non- centrally heated house for the best part of 5 months. The upside being you couldn’t eat anything, (I am convinced Sardinian women have this bug all year round) the downside being that you felt like road kill, in need of an oil radiator. Still, suffering from cabin fever we made it to the local supermarket. The car is distinctive and bears a battle scar, where I put it into a wall after jumping in the passenger window to prevent it from rolling down the hill and into the sea- hand breaks are necessary on gradients ( Who knew?- Well actually most people except me-apparently) . In the supermarket car park, Mum declined the sports socks, fake watch and lumo headband being proffered by the street vendor. He was shivering. Instead she gave him the last of her change and my two Euros which were invested in the said trolley. He looked South Indian and like the men I spoke with form Eritrea on the bus, I imagined he felt the cold acutely. Having lived in Africa, I remember how cold I found Europe on my first Winter home. He seemed pleased and shocked by my mothers small offerings and came up to the side of the car. He tried to give her a free pair of socks and a packet of tissues. We diligently packed the car, in fact such was the efficiency of my mothers packing, that we now housed the homeless man’s bag of stock on the back seat- which to be fair, was in a similar looking bag to the ones we had brought to the shop. He stopped offering his free gifts and told me in Italian that we now had his bag on the back seat, whilst we fumbled for the car key to make our way home. I translated. In her attempt to be thoughtful, Mum had now swiped the destitute gentleman’s entire stock and it sat proudly on the back seat. Once my Mum realised, the man threw his arms into the air and laughed from the pit of his belly, we stood in the rain laughing, as she fished out his bag. I don’t think he had ever had his stock of dodgy phone chargers and sport socks pinched by a woman in a Mercedes before. He shook her hand after the hilarity had quelled, his beautiful teeth illuminated by the shop display’ strip lighting. ” You are very nice people” he glanced at the car, “Are you German?” he asked.
V. on Whats worse than a fat German…