One of our routes includes the main thoroughfare into the town of Forio. We climb wooded paths over the hillside behind our hotel and follow a road along the cliffs. Our work is rewarded at the scenic
When I catch up with him, we proceed to the most difficult part of the walk. We arrive at the main cog and cross to face traffic.
In Italy, crosswalks are mere suggestions. Mopeds, scooters, and motorcycles weave around pedestrians trying to get to the other side. Waddling widows in black take their time and receive deference. Charley decides that since crosswalks are meaningless, he'll cross where he pleases, including blind curves. He grabs my hand and holds his free hand up like a traffic cop, defying two lanes of traffic to stop or hit us. Our luck has held so far.
The rest of the thoroughfare has no sidewalk until we reach the harbor. Trucks loaded with cement or tour buses with faces frozen in glass whiz past at 45 mph. We flatten ourselves against stone houses. The space between my feet and the traffic lane is six inches.
Charley walks ahead, using a sideways pushing motion away from us. He is certain that motorists coming out of the curves will see him swishing and make NASCAR moves in the fifty feet before we become decorations on the side of local buildings.
In front of one market, a car is heading to claim a parking space. It is the same space where Charley is walking. "Hey, stop!" he yells to the female driver, who slows to within three feet of his upright palms.
Out jumps Nana, with her grocery bag. "Quoi? Quoi?" Nana says.
In other words, "What's your problem? Don't you know my daughter owned a moped when she was six?"