Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The evil eye

I was in the grocery store today around 11:45, mid-morning here, doing my now tri-weekly-or-so shop. (How many more hyphens could I have put in that sentence?) Do you remember? If I spend more than 75 Euros, I get free delivery. Let me tell you, spending that much is not a problem.

There I was in a blessedly empty store, cruising the aisles, filling my rather puny cart and then another, I wheel up to the cash, there are only two and one is closed. This is a very small store by NA standards.

Suddenly, as I am standing there, every single old lady in the store wants to check out simultaneously. Behind me. Forming a giant queue. By the time I get to the cash, there were a few people in front of me, I had a line of about fifteen or seventeen glaring old ladies.

Good think I had a little purse with me that has one of those glass amulets for warding off the evil eye....(thanks Mom) Goodness gracious me. The old ladies might not have approved if I had started flicking that Italian two finger gesture for warding off the evil eye. Do you know that one? How to describe it...with your thumb, hold down the two middle fingers on the same hand, so you should have a fairly closed palm with the index and baby fingers still standing up. Hold it crosswise across your chest, palm in, over you heart or somewhere near there, fingers pointing slightly up and in, now flick your wrist hard and twist it so at the end your hand ends up palm parallel with the floor and your fingers are aimed out at whomever you think is sending you the evil eye. Go ahead, I'm waiting.

It just doesn't seem polite does it.

Maybe this isn't only an Italian thing, and maybe not all Italians, but most of the Italians I know use this gesture, most hilariously when they are on the phone with someone they don't like or trust.

I digress.

My little evil eye charm, those blue glass jobbies with the concentric white and black circles, seems to have worked.

The lady at the cash, after dealing with the line rather grumpily, and after another cash opened, turned to me and gave me a pair of plastic give-away bowls for the girls, then she turned her back on the line, gave me a big fat wink and said it was because I had bought so much.

Go figure.

7 comments:

Beth said...

Believe it or not - I actually sat here and tried doing that gesture. Not too successfully, I might add.
I think I have to practice. (You never know when you'll need it!)

dawn said...

Okay, I tried it too. I think I kind of got it. It is nice when the cashier is helpful and sees the plight you are in (with all the evil eyes looking at you).

Boo and Trev said...

I have always wanted to know what that warding off the evil eye gesture is after reading the Stephanie Plum novels! Thanks!

hulagirlatheart said...

Of course I tried it. I plan to use it during the next staff meeting.

Trish said...

heh too funny.

Nothing like old ladies in a grocery line for evil eyes - gah!

oreneta said...

Beth, if you haven't got it down by the summer, I'll give you a lesson then. Or I'll search youtuve, someone is bound to have posted it.

Dawn, it was pretty hilarious, though I have to confess to not feeling at all concerned about the situation.

Boo and Trev, anytime...I have also seen it used over the phone, of course there is then no concern about discression, and I have seen it delived under the table at meetings. The opportunities are endless it would seem.

Hula, please please please, do it, just for me! Then write a post, m'kay?

Trish, So so so so so....TRUE!Years of practice I guess.

elPadawan said...

Is it some italian version of "talk to the hand"? :D.

I've never heard of that gesture before, but the thumb + two middle fingers combo is well known in Christian culture for being used for blessings. You can see it pretty clearly on lots of religious paintings of the Christ. I suppose your gesture may be related to it.