I’m not a tourist information point. Nor a job center. Nor an estate agent. I don’t own a travel center. Nor a shop. Nor a bar. That’s pretty obvious, you’d say. Well, actually no, it isn’t. Because since I moved to London, a few years ‘ago, people back in Italy seem to assume I’m here to find their friends and acquaintances jobs, accommodation, hotels, flights and even health-care.
I don’t mind when it’s one of my relatives, or a close friend, asking me for tips about a good hotel in London, or a decent restaurant. Not that I know that many hotels in London, luckily enough I live in my own flat and I don’t need hotels. But I’m always happy to give a hand. What really annoys me, it’s when people I hardly know contact me with the most absurd demands. It’s the “PAISA'” culture, that old immigrant mentality… You’re an Italian abroad. You MUST WANT to help your “brothers” from back home. You must feel a rush of blood running through your veins and your motherland’s sweet voice summoning you into action everytime a fellow Italian asks you for a favour. Well… sorry to disappoint you but… NO.
I know I sound horrible, but through the years I’ve had hunderds (literally) of random emails from friends of friends, who must think I spend my life scratching my ass in sheer boredom, waiting for the chance to give them a detailed list of B&Bs in the Hammersmith area. Of course I’m an actress, after all, it’s not like I’m working or doing anything serious with my life…
Well, ladies and gentlemen, listen to this: I don’t give a damn about that colleague of your second cousin whose son has decided to study in London and needs a cheap room to rent. Tell him to look online, or to go to an estate agent, like the rest of the world. And no, I don’t know any pubs where they might need a waiters for the summer, because when I go to a pub I order a drink and chat with my friends, I don’t nag the manager about possible staff vacancies, taking notes just in case your neighbor’s boyfriend decides he needs a six month working experience in the UK. Cheap flights? Even my granny knows about Ryanair, if you don’t… you’re a MORON and the should stop you at the border.
Some demands have been wonderful. An african man who had my email through God knows whom, sent me a desperate message asking if I could help him get a UK visa. Poor soul. A UK visa? I’m an Italian citizien…
One of my mum’s ex students needed a part-time acting course for under 16 years old, starting on the 20th of June. If she had bothered making a search, she would have easily found out that schools in Britain continue well into July, so no summer courses for under 16s begins before August. This isn’t confidential information that only British residents can track, one just needs to go on Google… The niece of one of my mum’s friends (my mum should definetly stop saying I live in London) hoped I could help her find a job as a shop assistant, “or any job, actually, as a secretary, or a nanny, or an assistant teacher…”
Sure, because, you see, in England when empolyers need new staff, they don’t contact a job center, or post an advert in the paper, no, they call me. Of course. That’s what I’m here for. And from all over the British Islands, which is quite extraordinary. Whoever needs new employees gives me a buzz, “hey Lara, mate, do you have some random Italian who’s just arrived and is looking for a great job? Send them in!”
I can’t get people office jobs!!!! I have NO IDEA where to go to get an office job in London, I’ve never set foot in an office in my life. Which I’m quite proud of. I only know about acting jobs but, no, I’m not going to help your girlfriend’s best friend to find a voice over agent in London, because I should be an idiot. Call me nasty, but I’ve worked my ass to get a name in the voice over business in London, if somebody wants to come here and compete with me, fine, but asking me to help them in the process is just another totally MORONIC request.
The top of the tops though happened last week. My friend Simona called me to say that her sun umbrella neighbours at the beach (ie: VICINI DI OMBRELLONE DE LMARE, a beautiful concept, impossible to really translate in English, only Italians have sun umbrella neighbors) were in London, but the wife had sudden dental problems. Could I please find them a dentist? And guide them there, explaining which underground line to take and where to get off?
My dentist is in Milan… They could go to Stansted Airport, take a flight to Bergamo, a bus to Centrale, walk to Corso Buenos Aires and..
Yes, I’m a nasty, heartless person. A real witch. Look at my hair… AAAAARRRRRGGGGG