Wednesday, July 26, 2006


So, I went shuffling into the office of Costa Ligure today for one of my lessons. Costa Ligure is a great company that makes many tasty salsas like pestos and pates. Several of their employees are my students thanks to pals Mercedes and Flavio who both work there. Today’s lesson was with the big boss of the place, Daniele. As I was saying, I shuffled into the main office. I saw Flavio there and he said, “What’s the matter with you?”

“I don’t know. The other night, completely out of the blue my back tightened up and now I can hardly walk.” I explained.

“Oh, yeah. Well that happened because you sweat and then got some air. It happens all the time.”

Ok. So I’ve heard about this colpo di aria before. It’s when you suddenly get a cold or a stiff neck or something after foolishly exposing yourself to some breeze. Every Italian I’ve ever met believes in this hit of air. When the breeze hits you in the wrong way, or really at all, you will get sick or have aches and pains. As a general rule Italians stay away from fans and when they have AC it is set at, well, room temperature, nothing cooler. If a grocery store exposed its customers to that icy blast that Americans face everything they go into the supermarket they would also be exposing themselves to massive law suits because every Italian would sue them for the colpo di aria and all its damaging consequences.

I said, “yeah, right, Flavio. That’s just Italian mythology. No such thing exists.”

“Why do you think Americans are different than the rest of the us? Of course you can get hit too.”

With that, I shuffled upstairs to have my lesson.

“You don’t look so energetic today, Lynn.” Daniele tells me.

“I know. Suddenly the other night my back tightened up and now I can hardly walk.”

“Ah yes. You were sweating and then got some air. Do you sleep in front of a fan?”

“Well, yes, as a matter of fact, I do. As I have done for the past two months of unbearably hot weather – without any back problems, I might add.”

“Well, you must be sweating more now. It is really hot. You should turn the fan off.”

I used to laugh at this explanation of ailments in the past, but now, well, hell…who am I to say? Ok, I did laugh a little at the thought that a breeze has left me immobile and I really laughed at Flavio’s “old fashioned” remedy (it involves a burning cotton ball, an empty glass and about 5 minutes – I’m not yet prepared to try it but if I do, I’ll let you know). Anyone have any evidence for me to either prove or disprove the breeze theory?

I think I know what my Italian friends would say…”Do you have a backache?” “yes” “there you go, evidence!”

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