This is because when the weekends are days off, the way of getting errands done changes without even realizing it. This is particularly true because I’m not a Christian or a company employee, and since I work freelance, there’s rarely a weekend I don’t work.
In other words, I live an opposite lifestyle. When ordinary people have a day off, I work. Conversely, when they work, I take time off (actually, I haven’t been able to take time off…). This means that various reckonings go even more awry.
Take, for instance, delivery of online orders. Say that I’ve been notified delivery will be within 5 days. As an active freelancer on 24/7 all year long, in my brain Saturdays and Sundays are workdays, and when delivery doesn’t happen in 5 days, I become annoyed. Every time, I have to remember that the weekend isn’t counted.
When weekends are days off, there are more miscellaneous tasks that have to be finished on weekdays. Even though I’ve lived in Italy for many years with its many days off, I’m still living a hectic life because I can’t get in sync.
The other day I took shoes to the shoe repair shop. It was just one of the many errands that’s got me running around. Japanese people would probably imagine Mister Minit—shops found in convenient locations like on the street on the way to work or next to a subway station. Those shops work at an amazing speed. When you want to replace the heel of the shoes you’re wearing, the shops even give you slippers and a place to sit down, and in 30 min. your shoes are ready and polished like brand new so you can put them on and go to work.
However, in Italy just replacing the heel of a shoe takes 1 week. It’s a speed that messes with my stride. Around the time I got used to living in Italy, I took some shoes to a shoe repair shop to get the heels replaced, thinking that, since this is Italy, it would take longer than 30 minutes—probably until the next day. After handing over my shoes, I was told nonchalantly that they’d be ready the next week, and with that my shoes were cast onto a shelf.
Sometimes, they’re not ready on time, and rather than being shocked, I’ve become envious of this carefree attitude.
The shoe repair shops work at a leisurely pace, but they’re confounded by customers who bring in their shoes to be fixed and never pick them up. According to a shoe repairman, “Even though the shoes are all fixed, I have to deal with the shoes piling up that no one comes to claim.” So, they sell them.
Doesn’t it remind you of the Japanese folklore, ubasuteyama, where elderly are taken to a mountain and abandoned…? Italy has countless people who throw away shoes…I’m really curious, if Mister Minit set up shops in Italy, would there be some Italians who don’t care for that speedy service?