„What would you like to drink Madam?“
And she was dying of thirst, not quite dying but almost. After climbing zig hundred steps to the top of the church tower in this sleepy Sicilian village, where running water is turned off for an afternoon in half of this sleepy village, the other half having it turned off in the morning, she decided to buy her water in a restaurant where it always seemed to be flowing, even if it was only in bottles.
“Just a water, please, you know aqua minerale.”
“No problem madam, we speaka da English here.”
“Oh” she thought, at last someone that understands my needs.
“You want the water with or without gas?”
“You know the bubbles that rise in the water to the top, fizzy.”
“Ah, no, no gas, just plain mineral water.”
“Would you like a bottle of Perrier, the French water, or perhaps our national Italian water, San Pellegrino. We also have some German or Swiss if you prefer.”
“Just plain water, you know, the one that your customers usually drink.”
“OK, then we make it a San Pellegrino. You want it in a glass, or a bottle?”
“What’s the difference?”
“It’s the same water, but you can have more in the bottle. The glass is only two decilitre.”
Her thirst was increasing by the moment. Her throat was being parched by too many questions from this Sicilian inquisitor. She decided to go for the bottle.
“We have three sizes madam. The small bottle with three decilitre, the medium with five and the big bottle with a liter.”
“Ok, I will take the medium bottle.”
“With or without ice?”
“I beg your pardon.”
“You want the water cooled with ice.”
“Oh, yes, then I will take it with ice.”
“Crushed or cubes?”
She looked at her watch quickly. She had been ordering a plain water now for at least five minutes and was slowly but surely becoming annoyed with this question and answer game.”
“You know what, I don’t bloody care what the ice looks like. There is no prize for the best looking ice cube. Just bring me a mineral water with no gas, in a medium sized bottle with five decilitre and ice according to your own choice.”
“Ok, ok, madam. Oh by the way do you prefer the ice to be from our fresh tap water, or also from the mineral water.”
“What’s the difference? I am thirsty, not making a chemical analysis of your water quality.”
“Our tap water is good, but might have a slight taste of chlorine, we put it in our water to decontaminate it from any impurities it might get. I would perhaps recommend the ice from the mineral water, just to be safe.”
“Ok, just bring me what you think is best. No more questions, no more third degree and if you don’t want one of your customers dropping dead with thirst in your restaurant BRING ME THE WATER.”
The water left her table.
“What’s the problem with that customer Mario” asked the girl at the buffet.
“I don’t know, she is making a big fuss about ordering mineral water. These tourists lose their temper very quickly. No manners.”