Just my luck there's a plant show every spring and every fall. So of course I set out, walking the 1.9 kilometers (it was threatening rain) to reach my holy grail this year.
That's right, I got it. The lemon tree. Totally tiny and I'm still not certain if it's one tree with three shoots or three separate trees and I'm sure I did the wrong thing and picked one that has lemons on it already. Four lemons ranging in size from golf ball to shooter marble. Tiny and green and absolutely perfect from my complete novice point of view. The man who sold it to me was very nice. Between his little bit of English and my little bit of Italian we established that if I had any problems or questions I should call the number on the receipt. How we would communicate without visual contact is beyond me. I still rely heavily sometimes on gestures and visual clues.
I realized this last week, when I was babysitting for a family and their intercom rang. I asked who was there and the voice on the street said "Oooh-pay-essay (mumblemumble) con parco (mumble mumble) stamattina." I said in English "What?!?" and he repeated himself exactly, which wasn't exactly helpful to me. So I hung up on him, figuring he was either a serial killer (yes, at three in the afternoon) or really wanted someone else, someone who spoke Italian. The best translation I could come up with was that someone with an unpronounceable Italian name was at a park this morning. Not earth shattering enough for me to buzz him in.
He was persistent. We did this same thing two more times before I told the kids to stay put, don't hurt each other and I'd be right back. I locked them in and went down to the door to see who was so intent on getting into the building. I opened the super-thick-super-heavy ancient doors and there in his cute little brown shorts and shirt was the UPS guy (ooh-pay-essay) with a package (con paco) that he had tried to deliver that morning (stamattina.) He was in the process of calling a friend who spoke English so (I assume) he could put his phone against the speaker and have his friend tell me that he had a package for the apartment. I'm going to blame the traffic noise for my inability to understand exactly what he wanted. We both laughed, a little embarrassed by misunderstanding such a simple conversation.
Which, to come full circle, pretty much means that if I tried to have a phone conversation with the lemon tree guy, it would probably end up much like my conversation with the UPS guy. Eventually, I'd have to find my way to have a face to face conversation to avoid the untimely death or severe maiming of my beloved lemon tree.