Does It Work?

I dislike feeling at home when I am abroad. ~George Bernard Shaw

I love it here in Italy, and I love Orvieto.  It’s very small town, family oriented.  It has the flavor of the past while still being able to live in the present.  The people are friendly (though there are some creeps).  The buildings and architecture are amazing, and there’s almost everything you could need contained on top of the mesa on which Orvieto is built.

The main drawback that I’ve seen so far is that, nothing really works the way it’s supposed to.  And no one really cares.  For example, you would expect dryers to dry clothes, correct?  Well, dryers here, rather than drying the clothing, toss them around inside for three hours trying to ring the water out, and then you still have to hang them up.  It’s faster to just hang them up from the beginning.

Or when the internet in our monastery blew out because a part somehow related to getting power died–no one from the internet company could come for two days, then no one in the town sold the part that we needed, then the telephone company couldn’t come for at least a week.  And this is not an abnormal circumstance, it’s the way it is.

Oh, I’m not complaining.  These are things that you get used to.  I just think it’s interesting the the culture places value on such different things.  In a country that places such value on quality of their food, I find it interesting that they really could care less about technology.  It’s a much slower pace of life.  It will get fixed…eventually.  This so contradicts American culture, where everything should work the first time you try it.  If it doesn’t, the company messed up somewhere along the way, and you have a right to a new product.  And you have a right to it now.  If you have to wait more than a day for someone to come and fix your dryer, you throw a fit…something like the phrase “tyranny of the urgent” rings a bell.  Your problem should suddenly be the most important item on everyone’s agenda, and the business world caters to this.  They try to make you feel like you’re the most important person in the universe.

In Italy, you’re still important, but not so much so that they’re going to drop everything for you.  You’re more important in the community than are your technology needs.  So just get over yourself.  Feel it and let it go.  Maybe America could learn something from Italy, and Italy could import a dryer or two that really do dry your clothes. 🙂

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