La Farmacia is a peculiarly Italian invention. It’s not just the chemist shop, it runs more like a clinic.
You can go to the farmacia with any dolore, pain, and the pharmacist will suggest a rimedio or even some medications which require a ricetta medica, medical prescription. Not like in Australia.
I only wanted some soluble asprin, easy stuff, so I headed for the green cross croce verde.
I took my ticket and waited my turn. (You get a ticket in the post office too). Very civilised.
The man in front of me was speaking in lowered tones to the pharmacist and glancing back at me. The conversation went on for about 5 minutes and his glances back, at first somewhat anxious, turned into something almost approaching aggressive. I ostentatiously opened my book, clearly written in English, and tried to look deaf or stupid or both.
I dearly wanted to say “Dunno whatcha saying, mate” but I remained silent, eyes in my book.
Eventually he was told to wait and my number was called.
I got my asprin
I love the word used for soluble asprin effervescenti. It sounds like something effervescing, the very word is fizzy. In Italian anyway.
While I was there I decided to pick up some more paracetamol. You can only buy it in very small amounts. The last packet I’d purchased here was 500g tablets and I asked (I thought) if there were any in a higher dose.
I attempted to explain why I wanted a higher dose or, at least, more than 10 tablets in the box.
Mia anca è male. I said. Dolorante. My hip is bad (evil?). Painful.
Soffro d’artrite. I continued. I suffer arthritis. I pulled a sad and suffering face.
With that, the chemist sadly shook her head, no higher dose, no compresse, tablets, but she offered me something-something-something in 1000g.
Che cos’è?, I asked. Paracetamolo?
“What is it? Paracetamol”?
Si, paracetamolo, she answered. Supposta.
It sounded OK but I didn’t know the word.
Supposta? I asked.
The man who had been nervous about me eavesdropping on his personal health problems tapped me on the shoulder.
Supposta, he said, making a gesture which would be considered very rude where I come from.
I frowned. He made the gesture again. I swear the gesture meant “stick it up your bum”. Now I’m not the type who goes out of her way for a fight, preferring to let an offense go (and seethe about it later) and I certainly don’t fancy getting into a blue in a foreign country, but I’d had it up to here with this man. I got my Irish up.
Uomo brutto! I snarled at him.
Then the penny dropped.
Supposta. Suppository. Oh gawd.