Abnormal Italian Gene

Italian geneMy mother, being a full-blooded Italian, passed on a mutant hereditary chromosome common to those of Italian ancestry. Certainly, since she is full-blooded Italian, it has infected me to a greater extent than if she were less than pure. It is without question that others, non-Italians are also born with this dastardly dip in the gene pool, but not to the same depth as Italians are.

The effect of this particular gene exhibits itself on a daily basis, sometimes revealing my infection very apparently to others, while at other times; I am able to keep the evidence at bay. It is almost impossible to determine when an outbreak will occur, but it is horrendous when multiple Italians gather and it erupts. It is hazardous to anyone around in this situation. A   flare-up can happen suddenly or it can slowly fester. Either way, it is pure hell to deal with.

Scientists have yet to formally classify this gene, but those who commonly suffer gave it the What ifmoniker “What if” Syndrome. When presented with any event that is slightly outside of the norm, the “What if” syndrome kicks in to destroy confidence, slash logical thinking, pulverize good sense, and replace all of it with a barrage of negative thoughts that lead to despair.

Not long ago, I suffered with a major attack. It centered on re-applying for our Residency Permit. After the hassles of the application process itself, it exacerbated when the live scan fingerprint machine at Immigration refused to recognize there were potential loops, whorls, and arches sitting on my fingertips. The agent, clerk, officer, whatever they are called, had to write a report stating three attempts were not the charm and indeed on visual inspection I had not had them burned off.

The “What if” chromosome had a field day with this and remained close to the surface for the 30 days required to process our applications. When we returned home from the office, I realized that I mistakenly tossed one of the papers they gave us; it was with Ron’s name. A twin “What if” developed, but this had the potential of spreading like mold on blue cheese. What if returning the paper is imperative for receiving the new card? What if they refuse Ron his card due to my mistake?

People wonder why I look tired all the time. This “What if” is a major cause of sleep deprivation; it is exhausting.

However, I am thrilled to report one “What if” has been knocked out of the ballpark. On Wednesday, we received a call stating our cards were ready for pick up. On Friday, we waited for our B & B guests to finish breakfast, so we could run out. We did not manage to escape the apartment until 11 am. When I checked the schedule, the Immigration office closes at noon on Fridays. It seemed like an endless journey, as we had to take one metro to the end of the line before transferring to a bus for innumerable stops. As I watched the bus clock tick off the minutes, the “What if” kicked in prompting me to have a plan B if we missed the office hours. They are only open half days on weekdays, but close to the public on Wednesdays. Our Monday and Tuesday were already booked during the immigration office hours. This meant having to wait until Thursday if we missed Friday.

CardsRunning from the bus stop, we made it with 10 minutes to spare! They only gave us a five-year renewal. Maybe since the life expectancy of the average Hungarian male is 68 years, they figured why bother making it longer for us. Then again, I seem to believe there is a correlation to our passports, which expire in five years. Other wise, we are good to go…

After completing my Ed.D., the frustration of finding a teaching position where I was willing to live, led to Ron and I leaving the country. We intended to travel for a year before settling somewhere in MA or RI.

We left the US without any credit card debt, no car payments and our house mortgage paid by renters. We had $10,000 in the bank to make our way through a year.