Serenades with guitar and relatively passionate songs in dialect were permitted under the windows of the house. It was a rather old local custom, completely different, however, from the genuine folk serenades of chorus and ancient songs. These serenades we could call bourgeois, made up of students and young men of all classes and not exclusively rural.
The semi-learned songs accompanied by the guitar, mandolin, even the accordion, made the sleeping young girls raise their heads from their almost monastic pillows. But it was rather difficult to establish to whom the passionate voice breaking the evening silence with his claims of love was directed. Particularly since the lover, most likely hampered in his amorous aspirations, would not stop with his company under the window of his beloved only, but under many others where there were young girls, to create a kind of impunity. In this way his unburdening could pass as that of a lover of the serenade, of a spirit enamored by its universal dream of love. Or even of an artist practicing his music and song and nocturnal melodies.
~Grazia Deledda [Martha King, translator] [buy]
"Don’t touch women and don’t talk to them."
Last night after the No Regrets event I took the F home and there were two incredibly drunk guys in my car, middle-aged white guys in button-down shirts, not young fratty bros. They were hugging a pole in the middle of the crowded car, talking to each other loudly, moving unsteadily, slurring their words. I was worried, like I am 50% of the time on the subway at night, that vomit might happen on or near me. But they were only bothering each other, til they started talking to a woman who was sitting in the outer seat of a two-seat facing them, effectively underneath them, such that to talk to her one of them had to put his hand on the metal pole right behind her head so that he was sort of crouching over her. She had big, obvious neon green headphones on and I couldn’t see her face because of the direction her seat was facing. And she had a book open, but they were talking to her anyway. I couldn’t hear anything she said. She laughed at one point but to me it sounded like an uncomfortable laugh. Everyone else in the car was looking at these guys, looking at her, looking at each other, saying nothing. And then the louder of the two guys I guess wanted to get her attention because maybe she went back to her book and stopped nervously appeasing him so he reached over and touched her shoulder, not hard, just like ‘hey,’
DON’T TOUCH HER, I screamed.
'Whuh? Hey, I'm just … mind your business, we're just talking,' or whatever nonsense, he slurred.
DON’T TOUCH WOMEN AND DON’T TALK TO THEM. YOU’RE DRUNK. SHE DOESN’T WANT TO TALK TO YOU. DON’T TOUCH WOMEN AND DON’T TALK TO THEM, I screamed.
He protested, he called me ‘McSweeney’s’ (!!) and he called me some other names, including, of course, ‘crazy,’ But other women in the car chimed in, telling him to lay off, back off, calm down. And I got off at the next stop, so I don’t know what else happened.