I have been delighted over the summer to learn how many Sicilians are enjoying my blog. It seems those who live here, and the expats who have fled to the USA and other places, are equally happy to be mocked mercilessly.
Some of them have indicated that they now straddle two cultures and feel nostalgic about the Sicilian characteristics they remember in more elderly relatives. Meanwhile, most foreign expats here in Sicily notice sooner or later that, unlike myself, they are getting somewhat Sicilianised. And what about the genuine mixtures like my son? Are they still English? Or are they more Sicilian?
Personally, I can assure you I am still more English than an egg cosy. But for everyone else, the whole situation can become confusing. I think this personality questionnaire may help to clarify for each and every one of you, just how Sicilian are you?
Some Egg Cosies
1. It is a sunny day and 24 degrees outside. Do you….?
A) Immediately put on your shorts, call all your friends round to your house for a barbecue and serve them charred embers which can be cracked open to reveal that they actually have a core of raw chicken marinated in lighter fuel
B) Go for a walk in the park
C) Dress yourself and your child in seven anoraks, rush to the car and drive to the pharmacy for cough medicine, complaining bitterly to anyone you meet that this atrocious weather has given your entire family the flu, fevers and bronchitis and will be the end of you all before the winter is out
2. It is 41 degrees outside and the sun is melting the tarmac. Do you….?
A) Do nothing – you are delirious with heat stroke
B) Go to the beach and cool off in the sea
C) Get seven chickens, two lambs and five goats out of your freezer, buy a calf from the butcher and a truck of vegetables and invite all your friends and family over for a barbecue, so you can have a good chat standing round the fire all afternoon
3. Your best friend is getting married. To celebrate the joyous occasion, would you dress in…?
A) A frock covered in pastel coloured flowers and a large hat with a fake rose on the side
B) A chic new outfit you have splashed out on for the occasion
C) A full-length black evening gown dripping with black sequins, a black shawl, a black lace head covering, black stockings, black shoes and a pair of dark, black, black, black, black, black sunglasses from Gucci’s new Summer collection
4. Your car is…?
A) A Ford that you’ll be paying installments on for the next seven years
B) A Japanese car that has low petrol consumption
C) A Fiat Punto with over eighty dents in the body work, a string of rosary beads dangling off the rear view mirror and a medallion of Padre Pio glued on the windscreen where the tax disc should be
5. You are travelling through the countryside and see a mangy, moth-eaten looking horse in a muddy field. Do you…?
A) Cry, and then sign over your life savings, your house and your children’s college fund to “Save Mildewed Horses from the Knackers” registered charity No.17974
B) Nothing – it seems to be in no pain
C) Attach a two-foot-long plume of multicoloured ribbons to its head, yoke it up to a luminous yellow cart and goad it with a sharp stick until it is cantering at 95 miles an hour down the centre of a dual carriageway
6. Your job is…?
A) Something you have just lost
B) Boring but a way of paying the bills, and you hope it will last through the recession
C) Part-time work as a cleaner that you have been doing for 17 years and they still haven’t given you a contract but you feel lucky to have it as a source of income… even though you actually have a degree in Astro-physics
7. You a walk into your kitchen and notice a bit of dirt on the floor. Do you…?
A) Step over it on your way to the kettle
B) Wipe it up with a cloth and a squirt of Ajax
C) Cancel all social engagements for the next three days, dress up in a hideous flowery pinny with frills round the armpits and get out 27 bottles of ammonia, bleach and other cleaning products powerful enough to make you hallucinate and scrub down the ceiling, walls and floor with a set of wire scrubbing brushes in 12 different sizes
8. You are sitting in the living room when you hear your child sneeze. Do you…?
A) Say “Bless you”
B) Offer him a tissue
C) Scream and faint, dress him in 27 anoraks and a blanket, start hyperventilating and drive up the hard shoulder of the motorway all the way to the nearest casualty department, where you barge past the triage nurse and insist he is put on a drip and an oxygen mask and treated with a cocktail of antibiotics until you get kicked out 2 hours later. Then, text 750 of your closest relatives and friends to invite them to a special thanksgiving mass to thank Santa Rosalia of Monte Pellegrino for rescuing him from the jaws of death.
9. Your country has just won the World Cup. Would you…?
A) Wonder how on earth you travelled in time right back to 1966
B) Celebrate with friends over a few beers
C) Spontaneously form a slow-moving procession through town, beeping the horn of your Fiat Punto or your farty little Vespa non-stop and banging saucepans together. Then go to some all night café with your mates and have a fried spleen sandwich and a drink of coffee out of a ceramic thimble.
10. You have just met a girl you fancy. Do you…?
A) Act like a total nerd and ignore her in front of your friends
B) Bring her cups of tea and try to make her laugh lots
C) Shower her with shiny gifts, cook her a twenty course dinner, tell her that her eyes look like two stars fallen from heaven and then give her a glass of champagne to get her tipsy before you move in for a snog?
11. Your house is…?
A) A semi that is now worth less than half what you paid for it
B) A rented flat
C) A concrete cube that looks like a public toilet with lumps of masonry falling off the outside, but with an interior like Buckingham Palace (only much cleaner).
12. You decide to have a day at the beach. Do you…?
A) Roll your trousers up to mid-calf length or tuck you skirt into your knickers at the side, balance a knotted hanky on your head and paddle in the freezing water for five minutes, then have fish and chips in a deck chair with a mug of tea from your thermos flask
B) Swim a bit, sunbathe a bit and hope you don’t get burned
C) Pack a picnic of 25 sandwiches a yard long, eight cream cakes and several roasted chickens, seafood salad, biscuits and anything else in your kitchen and sit in the sun eating the lot, then charge down the beach and throw yourself at the water, creating a tsunami that obliterates Sardinia
13. You are getting ready for a night out. Do you…?
A) Scratch’n’sniff your armpits to see how smelly they are before rummaging through your combat trouser pockets for your Oyster card
B) Have a shower and put on something smart
C) Wash for four hours, put a whole tub of gel on your hair, pour three full bottles of aftershave over yourself then dress from head to toe in colour-coordinated clothes
14. Your little sister is..?
A) A bit of a pain sometimes
B) A good laugh
B) Who wants to know? What’s his name and where does he live? Tell me where I can find him.
We’re sorry, but there is not a Sicilian cell in your body. You are so English that, if you went to Sicily, they would call you “Milord”, tell you your compatriots are all “cold and closed” and then offer you a cup of tea in an egg cup, showing you a packet of tea the size of a matchbox that someone brought back from a holiday to London in 1982 which now tastes of nothing more than mild gerbil poo.
You are the perfect hybrid. You and your relatives are frequently to be found on the Ryanair flight between Palermo and Stansted, talking fluent cockney on the way out and fluent Sicilian on the way back. Your name is something like Totò Thompson or Gary Gambino and you are equally happy eating fish and chips or spleen sandwiches, it’s all the same to you as long as it’s fatty.
Congratulations! You are a thoroughbred Sicilian. It is not possible to be more Sicilian than you. In fact, you are so Sicilian that we cannot believe you actually speak enough English to have done this test yourself. You must have cheated…. which only goes to prove, even more, how very Sicilian you are.