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Minimal chronicles from the holidays

Di Antonio Caneva, 15 Settembre 2016

At the café on the beach, a young man tries to amuse the bartender by engaging her in an exchange of ping-pong throws across the counter. The customer stretches out his arm suddenly to hit the ball, and hits my wife’s nose hard. The nose turns red immediately, and the culprit disappears with a quick “sorry”.
On the seashore, we finally find some cool relief in the water. I get hit at the back, turn around, and see a boy who is recovering the surfboard that hit me. I look closer and see his father, who is playing with him and watching him blissfully. “Well, you are a grownup, you should avoid playing dangerous games near the shore!”. His answer: “What should I tell you? He didn’t hit you hard!”. Maybe I should have been cut in two for him to worry.
In the mountain, after a long hike, we finally stop under the trees of a pinewood , graced by a gentle breeze. The mountains stand shiny around us, and a flat rock seems meant for us to sit on. We open our rucksacks and take out our rich sandwiches of speck and mountain cheese. A real delicacy. A family of parents and two children are picnicking nearby. They are occupying one of the rare benches available along the trails. We exchange polite smiles, as is the custom at these altitudes, and each group becomes absorbed in enjoying the food. The family, who was there before we arrived, finishes sooner, and conscientiously picks up the empty wraps and tissues, placing them in a plastic bag (how good, how tidy!). As they move off, however, they leave it on the ground. Thinking they have forgotten about it, I call out “Look, you forgot your bag!” and the father annoyedly says: “There is no litter bin around, you don’t expect me to take the garbage with me!”.
Is it likely that you find litter bins at 2000 metre altitude and that somebody comes to empty them?
These small things are indicative of a certain way of interpreting holidays. Nowadays, many holiday hotels organise cooking courses for their guests. For next year, I suggest to also set up courses of what, at school, we used to call “civic education”.

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