Aug 16, 2010
It happened when I was riding to Grignasco one morning. At the open space in front of the one lane bridge to Serravalle Sesia, I saw the Polizia set up to stop vehicles passing by. I wasn't going fast so I was dismayed and confused when I saw his hand holding the large red dot raise up to stop me. I was even more dismayed to see that I'd not remembered to put my insurance and paperwork for the bike in my purse. I cursed the whole idea of fashion and changing purses to go with different outfits.
He waited as I shut down the bike and pulled off my gloves, then informed me that it was mandatory to ride with my lights on. This came as a surprise as my bike is old, and there isn't an option to turn them on an off independently of the bike. I started to say something then decided to just say, with some natural surprise in my voice that I'd check on it.
Then of course came the request for my license. I handed over my California license which led to more questions. How long was I in Italy? For what reason? How come I didn't have an Italian driving license Was the bike mine? Can he see my insurance? I know I looked sheepish when I said I'd left it at home. I could feel him thinking "Yeah right." (in italian of course.)
More questions and then he said almost apologetically that he had to give me a ticket. I smiled and good naturedly chatted with him as I walked over to the car. After all, if I was him I'd have given myself a ticket, if for nothing else, for being an idiot for leaving my documents at home.
More questions, but this time about California, interspersed with questions about my stay.When he asked "Why Italy?" without skipping a beat I said "because we Americans think that everything in Italy is beautiful." He looked at his partner at one point, then opened the "book". He stopped and said something to his partner that I didn't understand, then he straightened, looked up the road where I'd come from and gave me instructions.
I could feel my good fortune but in case I didn't understand and then did something completely contrary to what he just told me, I asked him to please repeat. I was to return home, get my documents to keep with me and then go wherever it was I was intending to go. He was letting me go without a ticket!!
As I got ready, he asked me when was the best time to go to California because he too was fascinated by what he'd heard of it. I could have kissed America; I could have kissed him!