Welcome to Britalian, my personal counselling session where I talk about my relationship with Great Britain because yes, we have a troubled love affair.
After last week’s episode I am slowly sliding down the slope of complaint, and that’s no good. But don’t worry, I promise I won’t go full “Moaning Italian” mode, complaining about pineapple pizza and rainy weather all the time.
Still, sometimes I wake up and I feel immensely alienated. Sometimes I feel more like a “me” versus “them”.
Sometimes I simply feel I don’t fit, and this is almost any time when alcohol is involved. I feel ill at ease when a successful weekend is measured by the hangover, and people cannot have fun if there is no booze involved, or when people can’t get personal, emotional or confident without alcohol, or refuse to dance if they don’t have two beers beforehand. The fact that people don’t even recognise it as an issue it’s part of the problem. I am not teetotal, it’s just that I cannot connect over a pint of beer, and booze, which for some British people is a channel, becomes a wall to me.
Another thing that sets me on edge is one of Britain’s national sports. No, it’s not football or rugby or cricket, it’s banter. When people throw soft insults at each other, call each other names, or make jokes that diminish a person. Please, carry on, but I’ll feel uncomfortable. As you were.
There are times when I feel I am in the wrong place, and there’s not much I can do about it. I wish I had a magic wand. Yes, I know what you are thinking. “Davide, it’s very unlikely that people who openly identify as LGBT+ may be admitted to wizardry school”. Still, here’s what I wish I could change.
For example when I see the amount of litter people just leave on the bus, by the road, in a nature park. I wish they were more respectful.
And then I wish I could change how polarised and divided the society is. The barriers between you and what you will achieve in life are partially weighed on the family you were born in, on the school you’ve attended, on you A levels, on the postcode you live in, the accent you have. I wish I could get rid of inequality.
And then I would cancel homelessness, betting shops and loneliness…
Hold on, hold on, hold on Davide. Don’t go down the “us” versus “them” narrative, because that’s exactly the same hostile language used by those who want less of people like you around.
It’s true, these things annoy me or set me apart. But I don’t need a wand. I just need to feel I belong. If I belong, if I have my share, I will care about it all, and I will either try and change it for the better, or I will try and accept it with patience, compassion and love, like you do with the relative you don’t really get along with. Yeah, that’s what happens when you’re part of the family, when you don’t see them from the perspective of a stranger, but of an insider. I need to feel I’m part of the family.
After all, being Britialian means that I am part of this community. There’s no more a me and them, me Versus them, British versus Italian, but an Italian within Britain, Italian and Britain side by side.
That’s nice to get that off my chest. Next time: untranslatables.