I've been walking around Venice for an hour or so, watching the way the light on the water changes as the sun goes down. It's a beautiful place. Somewhere I can't wait to take my wife to. But more importantly, I'm hungry. I remember passing a little take-out pizza place, which in any other country wouldn't be the best place to try out the local cuisine, but in Italy, it's exactly what you want to do.
Behind the counter is a good-looking local guy, late 20's, black hair to his shoulders, a beard and a big smile. "buonasera", he sings at me, "buonasera", I reply, my command of the Italian language now 25% used up. I point to a gorgeous looking calzone under the counter and ask him what's in it. "Habla Espanol?", he asks. "Um..no..Espanol?..no", I reply. He laughs and says that at his shop he speaks all languages of the World. He says this in Italian, which to some extent disproves the very statement he is making, but I let it slide.
There is a young couple eating pizza at the little stand-up table to my left, they laugh. Turns out they are German and have obviously just gone through this conversation with him minutes earlier. In broken Italian I tell him that I'd like a magareta calzone, and he relays my order to the chef before asking me where I'm from. We chat for a while and then he asks the German couple how to say buonasera in German. they tell him, "Gutenacht" and he tries it a couple of times. The chef laughs and joins in, putting lots of emphasis on the last syllable, "GutenACHT". The couple finish their pizza, say goodbye, and leave. Once they're gone, the guy who took my order leans over the counter conspiratorially and says, "She was beautiful. Perfect, huh?". "Molto Bella", I reply. He grins widely and points at me, "Yes!"
He starts joking with the chef in Italian about the girl and why she was with her boyfriend instead of him, I can make out that they're decided that it must be the seductiveness of the German language. They start repeating "GutenACHT" and giggling, then he finds the key, makes the linguistic quantum leap and announces proudly, "buonaserACHT" and we all laugh.
Suddenly the chef gets very serious. "She was nice, but not perfect.", he decides. Then, sliding the neat cardboard box containing my calzone across to me on the counter top, smiles. "Here is perfect".