by Arthur Diaz
The man checking tickets ricochets off bus seats as he bumbles down the aisle. Despite his lack of grace, he wears an air of authority. After requesting my ticket and noticing it has no stamp, he declares, “Identificazione.” I shrug and say, “I don’t have any” while shaking my head “no” so he can understand. “Passaporto!” he repeats over and over as if his words will make the document appear. Every no and shrug seems to frustrate him like a blister on the heel of a foot.
Eventually, Professor Caputo comes to discuss with the ticket man how I am a tourist, but the man vehemently brushes off what Gio has to say by pointing at two women and saying, “But these Moroccan women knew what to do.” Immediately I realize this was no longer an issue of a foolish error about a bus ticket. This was his way of making an example out of me by pointing out the stupid American.
The issue was ultimately resolved with a 25 euro fine. I didn’t get a ticket or a receipt, which is a little odd since he desperately wanted my passport information to fill out the ticket he was going to issue me. So I have no way to post a picture on Instagram. I couldn’t help but hear Jay-Z rap, “‘Son, do you know why I'm stopping you for?’ Cause I'm young and I'm black and my hat's real low.”