Guest commentary by Beatrice Russo
An e-mail interchange with my friend Patrizia in Florence, Italy (yes I changed her name and asked her if it was OK) . I'm doing this as a favor to the sick old man, he looks pretty craggy. I really need to be looking for different work, I can't spend another summer in a steak house - BR
E-mailing to you because I cannot communicate here with anyone approximately this. But because you come from my generation, that what they call Gen-Y or the Millennials, I think that you will understand. And because your crazy uncle is in the Italian commerce of the wine and is here in Italy also that he works for our crazy men, perhaps can resolve this problem.
You know I live to Firenze and I work in the district of Chianti Classico. You know the wine cellar. And it is good because the laborers think there in the important things that they are like me. Things like organic and sostenibile and not using more fuel. Therefore, when I say to my boss, that he comes from that first generation, called X, approximately wishing to work from my home two days a week, he asks to me because? I say because we are connected with the Internet and to obtain within and outside from Firenze is therefore difficult and wish to use my time and energy more efficiently. He says, as I know you so little, how would I know you would not be in a café in some place or surfing the Internet?
That generation of X has been developed in not trusting of anyone? I say that, Y follows the X but I do not wish to follow this generation. Oh yes, they make a big display, what we call a bella figura, about their title and their position and their wealth when they have it. Even if they would only inherit them. And they are all Dottore, a country has filled up of pigro Dottore’s! Which thing are they called, Yes-men? Minchia, therefore I am so angry, my Sicilian grandmother is bubbling in the inner part of me.
Therefore the result is, because this Dottore does not trust me to working away from the center two days, I cannot. Now he cannot dismiss me, but he can pay to me wages so small that I must amuse myself to make one life. And the rents of the apartment to Firenze are like Saint Francisco in which my sister lives. Therefore it is much expensive living here on a 1200 Euro month.
You think I could communicate with an American company to be their representative here? Perhaps the managing of relationships with Italian wine companies? Am I totally lost? I watch the heads of this so-noted generation X and feel frightened and angry and helpless. And, they, behaving like a crosspiece between Berlusconi and the mother Teresa, touching nothing therefore cannot be culpable of anything. But taking credit for anything that people below them do well, and they do that all the time!
Is this like that in America? Is this generation already worse than the famous flower-child boomers? I think so; at least the flower-child-boomers came to Firenze during the floods in 1966, and cleaned up the city for months, asking for nothing.
Today, if you asked my manager to make something similar, he would transmit an email to the office of the agricultural department in order to go to Firenze. And then in order to put himself in a good light he would present an official press release, talking about how great his leadership is for Toscany and Italy. I am not kidding!
I’m sorry Bea, but we are friends and I want to ask you how in your country it works with these X-men.
(Sorry for my English:)
I cannot say from experience because I barely have enough work to afford to live on my own. I do not have health insurance. Because I was orphaned, I have some benefits. But until I finish college, and I'm not sure I will, I cannot get work in the wine industry of the uncle, as you call him. He is a “flower-child-boomer” (I love that, where did you come up with that?), and quite harmless, and we talk about the generation between us, from time to time. He doesn’t get them, I don’t get them, I really see no reason for their existence, so many of them are just grown-up slackers; I just don’t want to work under them.
X-Men ~ from tie-dye to tie guys
They say they don’t want controversy, they say they want everyone to speak in normal tones, conform to a standard. But 5 o’clock comes and they are gone sailing. Try to reach them before 9 o’clock in the morning or during the weekends, and forget it. I am so ready for their sun to set. And it will, sooner than they think.
On another subject, so what kind of wine have you been tasting lately? I recently bagged a few half-chewed bottles of wine over at uncle’s house, from a very delicious California winery called Four Vines. The old Italian wine guy was going off on these wines, really got his head spinning, like he was 20 again and driving up the California coastline in his funky old Fiat (no offense).
I tasted two I thought were pretty awesome, one was called Anarchy (of course), some old vine Zinfandel, Syrah and Mourvedre blend that I had with some Satay. I was in heaven. The other wine was also red, called the Heretic, a Petite Sirah that reminded me of that Maremma wine we were talking about from your friend Francesca’s winery.
Look, get a visa and we’ll invade uncle’s house and his wine cellar. His son is around and has a group of interesting friends. Uncle says the X-generation reminds him of a 5 year-old Beaujolais wine, old before it’s time. I think he’s frustrated with them too. Maybe we can talk him into liberating a small company and we all can run it. Into the ground, ha-ha! You should come here if it gets too depressing in Italy, there's room for another smart, beautiful Italian woman.
(p.s. don’t worry ‘bout your english, my italian’s not so good either :)
Oh, you crazy American girl. Thanks, I have needed to communicate it with someone without telling to so many other people around. I know it would be safe turning to you. Maybe I will come, maybe I should! Find us two ripe boys and I will be there even sooner.
I have tasted a wine that is turning around lately in the wine bars here in Firenze. One wine bar is called I Fratellini. It is one appreciated very because they carry this wine from the country that I only see in the laboratory. They call it Grand Noir and the pulp of the grape is dark ; it is violet and very colorful. It reminds me of a wine as Barbera or a Gigondas (my aunt comes from Avignon) and it is a lot interesting. I have an image but the label is much disgustosa and messy. That is my one divertimento.
Well I must get back to work; here comes "Il Duce" looking over my shoulder.