human interaction


Grandfather & Grandchild, Codogno, Italy © Jim Korpi

A wall in my living room appears as though it has been attacked by someone practicing kung fu moves with the wet end of a neon-green paintbrush. Behind the green strokes is a dirty Crayon yellow. Sitting on the couch in this room sets the mind on a path of confusion, a mouse in a maze without cheese as an end goal.
I asked an Italian friend where I could find paint. “Ahhh….,” she said with an enthusiasm in her voice and eyes often found in someone asked for directions. “My friend sells paint. He can come by with some colors, you can pick one you like, and he will go get the right one and bring it back.”
This response took time to sink in. She knows a guy who sells paint. Reasonable. But not only does he sell paint, he quaintly comes to your place, like an encyclopedia salesman, and delivers the product.
If an Italian were to ask me where to get a can of paint in the United States, I would, without hesitation or referring to a close friend, send them to the nearest giant DIY store. There they would seek out the paint department, and stand confused at the counter looking for a human with some sign of store attire—maybe a name badge. They would see a button that says, “Push for assistance.” Once pushed, an echoing robot-like voice would announce, “Assistance needed in the paint department. Assistance needed in the paint department…”

Posted September 13th, 2015 in Uncategorized.

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