There is so much and it is so total.
But......today I realized that I do miss the....bidet.
Most Americans wonder about this bathroom fixture. What in the world does one do with it? Why do Europeans find these so important that they are even in the Autostrada bagni? Does anyone really use them there?
However, today was leg defuzzing time and I realized how convenient the bidet is for this--far better than any option available here. It's the perfect height, the water is nicely warm--it is easy and comfortable. I need one.
This plumbing marvel is also very useful for soaking clothes and watering plants. Casey's greyed karate uniform looked new after a few hours in the bidet and the plants thrived and grew. I wish I had the foresight to photograph this fixture for illustration purposes.
Another thing I miss is one found in all Italian kitchens--in fact, most European kitchens. This is the over the sink draining cupboard--a brilliant accoutrement. For the uninitiated this looks like a cupboard but in reality is a hidden place to drain the washed dishes and store them until their next use. Even with a dishwasher there are things we wash the old-fashioned way--by hand. The draining cupboard is such an improvement over the counter drain where one must either dry dishes right away (a real bore) or let the kitchen be cluttered and disfigured (which I hate). With this cupboard it is truly out-of sight-out-of-mind until you next need that pan. I would definitely have one installed here except that I have windows above my sink--no room for a cabinet.
What else do I miss?
Well, the vast variety of toilet flushers is a possiblity. No two are alike. Sometimes it takes several minutes to locate one in the current room of use. Is it high on the wall? A chain to pull from the overhead? On the wall at the side? On top of the toilet tank? On the floor? On the side? Where? The creativity in designing clearly requires a Lego builder's mind.
Another candidate for nostalgia is the glove that one must wear when selecting produce at the grocery store. In Italy, you may not casually pick up a tomato with nude fingers. When entering the produce section, the first thing that must be done is don one of the cellophane gloves found in a little dispenser. It is always easy to spot the newcomer who naively picks over the onions or broccoli with uncovered hands. People in the know look askance at this faux pas.
The top box
Along with the gloves, also comes the weigh-in. As you bag your produce, you weigh each item by pushing its number or picture. Out comes the price tag which is then affixed to the bag. All the checker needs to do is scan the code. We could really benefit from this technique.
But--door-to-door pickup is not common. Instead, huge containers are along the sides of the roads--green for bottles/tin/plastic, grey for general kitchen type garbage and yellow for paper products. People must deposit their items in these bins. I can not tell you how often we took our garbage with us in the trunk only to arrive back home with it--having forgotten to dump it. Our consolation was that our Italian friends often did the same thing.
The fact is that I truly do miss these things. They are part of who I am now. Of course, in traveling to Italy over the years, I was aware of these things--nothing was new to me--but having lived them for a sustained time, they are no longer a novelty. They are part of an everyday life that was mine.
Today I find myself hesitant to touch produce at the grocery store --it just doesn't seem right. I look for the glove and cringe to see carrots being picked over. Today I was at a fast food place (yes, I admit that) and the flusher was a very European knob on the top--I smiled. However, the bidet was missing--the room seemed incomplete.