Are the Romans rude?

I must have one of the worst neighbours in central Rome. His name is Domenico, and instead of being one of those lovely patriarchs out of a 1960s movie, he is an old, grumpy man, with his main pastime being to annoy his neighbours. I don’t know if he doesn’t accept us for being foreigners in his building, but it seems that his frustrations are often directed at us.

His latest mischief is to water his plants whenever we hang sheets to dry outside on the balcony. So our sheets are always wet when we think they should have dried! And I am convinced he does it on purpose. It happened again today, and strangely he was on his balcony just at that moment with a grin on his face. I told him that I suspected he was watering our sheets which of course he denied, but as soon as I went inside, I saw water trickling down again. We already had many other episodes in the past, such as writing letters to the building’s association about us leaving a pram in the hall. He once threw our child’s buggy violently down the common stairs, and so on…everything is petty, but that’s part of the reality of living here.

I don’t react, but I secretly dream of slashing his tyres one by one!

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