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February 17, 2009
No Internet today, either in the Church or at home. Will the man come to fix it today? I ask. It seems a reasonable question.

Maybe, is the answer. Oh.

I have a hard time managing my work without Internet access, I start to say, but the words die on my lips. In Italy, your hard times are more or less your own, at least insofar as precision and promptness are needed for their healing. I don't know when the Internet man will come. Maybe today. Maybe not.

I have taken to saying something Jesus, a Jew, must have said a lot -- Oy, I say to myself when I get another maybe about the Internet man. Oy. It is a Yiddish syllable as replete with rueful meaning as its Asian cousin OM is empty of it. Oy, you say when your husband and your toddler are both up all night with the stomach flu, and you're feeling a little queasy yourself.

Oy, you say when your portfolio shrinks to half its former size.

Oy, when you realize that you're out of cash and don't remember your new PIN number.

Oy, you say, instead of 'Well, what do you expect?' or 'Now I've seen everything' or 'Can anybody really be that dumb?'

I have come to love 'oy.' I have come to need it. It has become essential in developing the fatalism necessary to life in Italy, where a person really cannot allow her mental health to stand or fall on things happening as expected. They don't here, and they're not going to anytime soon. So you need to stop fuming early on. Just say Oy and move on to something else.

Maybe today. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe never.
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