David’s wee-wee and bum
David Wee Wee and Bum
It was 2000. We had gone on 3 weeks’ vacation to Italy. All the arrangements were made and we arrived at Bahrain’s airport one night after midnight. We had 4 tickets booked that night and the airline did not board us. They kept us waiting and waiting and we could hear all the flight announcements. We kept making trips to the counter and as the minutes went by, it became clear that we would not get on. The girl there closed the counter and told us blandly, “your flight has left”.
I went to customer service and started screaming. Angry voices echoed in the rapidly emptying terminal building. My daughter came to me and said, “please stop making a scene, you are embarrassing all of us”. She launched into her sermon-in-the-airport-lounge and told me I should love errant airport staff. This was like manna from travel heaven to the counter staff.
Finally the travel desk guys worked out something. “We can do 3 seats in a flight after two days. So one of you can’t go”. My wife said, “I shall stay back. I have seen most of these places as a kid. You should go with the kids.” It was a pragmatic suggestion and I held back uncharitable thoughts like, “she’s trying to relax alone for 3 weeks, without a husband and two brats.”
Once we told them we would settle for 3 seats, I could see a cloud evaporate. The travel desk did the next steps efficiently. “See, you were to go to Venice for 3 days. Cancel that and stay in the Milan area for the first week. You can catch up with your group after a week in Rome.” They played around some more with their computers and produced a fresh itinerary.
When we got home by taxi in the wee hours, I told them, “I think it helps to be nasty”. My daughter says it was all due to her being so pleasant. The jury is still out on that.
The first week was unstructured as there was no group and we did not have to adjust to a stranger’s peeing and eating schedules. That would come in the last two weeks, with tour buses, annoying tour guides and various locations made famous by Hollywood down the years.
Our “freedom” allowed us to spend a whole day in the cultural heart of Firenze (Florence to ye lumpen !). We wandered through cobbled roads and even my oh-so-blasé teenager was a trifle impressed, imagine, Roman legions probably marched over these cobble stones.
We paid the lowest rate to enter the Uffizi Art Gallery. The main attraction was the marble statue of David – focus of so much attention down the years. With all the gravitas of an older sister, she told her brother, Michelangelo is a sculptor, not a ninja turtle. My son was only somewhat convinced. After all, he watched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles back home on TV and knew all about Michelangelo, far cooler than poor Raphael, Donatello and Leonardo.
Once inside, we had guide books and were somewhat self sufficient. I did the Indian tourist trick of hanging around a tour guide. After a few trials, I located a good narrator, with a loud voice who knew her stuff. I planted myself strategically and pretended to study the ceiling. I could listen to most of what she said to a group of slightly hard of hearing seniors who generally got everything narrated twice. It was touristy heaven for a cheapo like me. My daughter at her pious best, said she would not ‘hang around’ with us. She said, “You are embarrassing all of us and anyway, they can all see what you are doing!”
Despite my daughter’s disapproval, I managed to hear most of what was said. We saw most of the famous artworks like Botticelli’s Primavera , Titian’s Venus, Raphael’s Madonna and so on. We were approaching the David Room. This was perhaps the most crowded part of the Gallery so far. We could see David. My son giggled loudly,”He has a wee wee; he has a wee wee; he has a wee wee!”.
His sister and I tried to shut him up, but he would have none of our shushing. He pointed to her and told the world, “Her wee wee is broken!”
He was sure that she had a wee wee once and it got broken!
I finally managed to get him under control. The museum people said we should form a line to get close to the statue.I told my son, we can go only if you keep quiet. So the three of us joined the line. She in front and the two of us at the back. Thankfully there were no more wisecracks. He traipsed behind silently.
It was too good to last. As we were almost free and out, there was a loud 9 year old voice proclaiming,