Busy cafe near Piazza di Spagna (named after the Embassy of Spain). Picture high palms and warm yellow, ochre and rust houses that proudly gaze over the steps. The steps were actually a gift from the French King Louise XV to Rome (should probably be called the French steps in the King’s honour but the Spanish Embassy got there in the nick of time.)
I had time to kill before picking up the piccola Teresa from school and settled in the Piazza with my book and a cappuccino (standard.)
I couldn’t help but notice a bouncy conversation three men in shiny suits on the table next to me started bellowing. Here is a rough translation of their brisk conversation:
Man 1, 2 and 3, let’s call them Riccardo, Luigi and Leonardo.
Riccardo: Ciao! Apologies for the delay – I got caught on a call
Luigi: That’s no problem – I just called you actually
Riccardo: Ah! was on the other line -
Luigi: Yes I gathered, no problem.
Riccardo: And Leonardo?
Luigi: He just called, he’s on his way
Riccardo: Great – did you read the email I sent you this morning?
Luigi: Haven’t had a chance yet
Riccardo: Ah I see – I was going to call after you’d read it to see what you thought before we met this morning
Luigi: I’ll read it after this meeting if that is alright, then I’ll let you know?
Riccardo: That is a good idea – here is Leonardo now
Leonardo: Ecco mi! Here I am!
Leonardo: Tutto bene? Everything ok?
Luigi: Everything is fine
Riccardo: Glad you could make it
Leonardo: What a great sun today!
Luigi: Are you going back to your parents this weekend?
Leonardo: That is the plan! If I can get out of that meeting at 4pm. Come to think of it, I could attend via conference call. Or can catch up with the discussion after
Riccardo: We could go though now what we are going to propose?
Riccardo: Why not? We are all hear apart from Filippo but he will be on the call later
Leonardo: I thought we intended to discuss the items for next week’s press release?
Luigi: I agree – that is more urgent
Riccardo gets up: Some caffe’ first guys?
Leonardo: Please – Let me offer you both one
Riccardo: So kind! Thank you
Luigi: I will have a caffe ristretto with pleasure, thanks
Folders shuffled, pens clicked, blackberrys on the table, I-Phone’s buzzing, Luigi answers and speaks for a moment. He frowns and leaves the table. After a moment or so, he returns, despondent
Luigi: It is with great regret I think I must leave – it appears Mario has had a run in with the Profilo clients
Riccardo: What a clown! He should be able to manage that account
Luigi: I don’t trust the man sometimes
Leonardo: Everything alright?
Luigi: Its the Banca Profilo clients – they have some problems [drinks his coffee with a flick of his wrist]. Thank you for that
Leonardo: My pleasure
Luigi: I don’t know what to do – I think it might be best if we get together in a few days. I am sorry, guys
Riccardo: We might have no choice [drinks coffee and lights a cigarette]
Leonardo: I may be away at the end of this week and early next – for a long weekend
Luigi: Ah I see
Riccardo: We could simplifly the situation and do this by a conference call?
Luigi: Not a bad idea
Leonardo: That’s settled then
Riccardo: I can email across the details
Luigi: Ok, perfect. Get in touch if you need anything in the meantime
Riccardo: Let’s get in touch later today then
Leonardo: Thanks guys, see you soon!
Riccardo: I’ll be in touch later today
Luigi: See you next time!
Business meeting adjourned. Five minutes of chair scraping, cigarette exchanging and texting.
I went back to my book, worried that after all that, nothing much was achieved but confused as to the original aim of said meeting. (I can hear you say, was it my business at all? Essentially not, no but one can’t help but overhear – besides how else can one successfully pick up the language?)