The true meaning of Christmas is a flannel shirt smelling of beer. - 01 January 2007

Christmas, 2006 edition. Every year more of the same, but I just love it.

Christmas stories: Olaf visits a serial killer in Verona and survives.

Mauro, Verona Only minutes ago I wrote about my plans, but I was lying. Since some of my friends live far far away, and they made the effort to come and visit me last year, I decided to be a good guy and visit them in Verona , 2 hours by train from Milan.

Usually I don't like to travel over Christmas, especially in Italy and especially on Italian trains. They're always crowded and noisy. While I can block out the noise by listening full volume to my ipod, unfortunately I can't kill people to have a place to sit.
I ended up traveling in the hall, surrounded by bags that couldn't fit anywhere, and by a stinking sensation that the guy next to me was farting all the time.
Crowded trains in ItalyFor some reason I must have a face that invites people to talk to me.
I always try to keep my "talk to me and I kill you" expression that works so well in London, but here in Italy the same killer face doesn't work.

Sad truth How weird though, people always accuse me of being a stereotypizer (don't even know if that word exists!) and hence a racist, while every time I go back to Italy I'm always surrounded by people coming out from a United Colors of Benetton ads trying to talk to me in English. Probably it's because I always have some sort of English book in my hand to read and I'm disguised as a not-Italian. 007 kiss my ass.

Plus, let me defend my accusation of being obsessed by stereotype.
First, it's a great way to sail through life, since it's easier to categorize people into various compartments and talk to them as you really know them.
Second, it works and makes my life better. I'll give you an example: I always think of French guys as gay, arrogant and smelling of garlic cologne. Every time I meet someone who hasn't got those qualities, automatically I think: "Hey, this is a great French guy!" and I feel happy of knowing that there some non-gay, non-arrogant and non-garlic smelling French guys after all.

Same goes for male vegans, which I usually consider gay in disguise: show me a vegan than eats steak and I will remove him from the homosexual group. Easy.
I categorized so many stereotypes in my mind that being surprised it's always a nice feeling. See?

Me and MauroIn Verona I was supposed to meet Mauro, Alessia and maybe Gualtiero, the same guys who stayed last year in my place and with whom I spent so much time and lived so many adventures back in the late 90's.

Unfortunately for some unlucky coincidence they couldn't make it, so I was stuck in the city with Mauro, the serial killer.

One man, one faceNow, let me introduce this character. He's 34 or 35, never smiles and defines himself as a "strange" guy with peculiar tastes.
Recently he moved to a new house, sponsored by the parents (yes, he's a lucky bastard with his ass covered in any needs by parents who love him way too much, since they waited only 14 years to see him graduated).
The house has empty walls, and no television, since he doesn't understand it.
Look, no telly nor stereo!He has no stereo or no other way or listening to music than his Sony MiniDisc player. I repeat: a Sony MiniDisc player that he still likes it and uses it . I looked around to see if I could find a Betamax , but probably he hid it away knowing I would blast his balls.

Down deep inside he's a nice guy, if only he could interact more with the rest of the world and stop listening to that crap that he likes and that drives girls far away.

We moved to some bar, talked (well, I talked; usually he just stares at the nearest wall in front of him)and moved again to another English bar, drunk Guinness and he got drunk and started shouting in the middle of a posh neighborhood what was missing about his life (love, a girl - Alessia -, sex, more money).

Somehow he managed to drive me back home and after saying goodbye the next morning, I was home soon to get ready for the proper Christmas celebration, sparing a thought about buying Mauro a prostitute to lift his spirit and something else.

I didn't, by the way. He didn't want her. If I didn't know that he's just a strange straight guy, I would have though that he's gay.

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