Sunday, January 24, 2016

A Not-Quite International Incident

Because of the recent attacks in Paris, when we reach a tourist site, the first thing of note is the military presence. Soldiers dressed in full battle uniform carry machine guns ready to shoot; it's strangely comforting and equally disconcerting.

 When boarding the ferry or the plane to return home, there are four passport checkpoints. We are scrutinized as if potential threats--This is the world to which we adapt.

So naturally, when Caleb, Elise and I are exploring and shopping in Florence, and when we pass under a huge Guess sign in a piazza, I take notice at the abandoned bags, yet I keep it to myself. A block away, it starts to bother me, and I mention that we need to check on those abandoned bags. Caleb, also on high alert, knows exactly what I'm talking about and wants to return too. We have a possible international incidence we can't ignore.

There is a family sitting at the table next to the stack of abandoned bags. We understand the bags could blow up any minute, but lives are at stake, and so we approach.

"Excuse me, are those bags yours?"

Fortunately, the father speaks English. He stands up, peers over his family and says, "That is dangerous." He moves about and inquires in Italian to the people in the piazza. A security guard tells him the bags belong to a homeless person who is inside the bookstore.

The possibility of our international incident shuts down faster than it took to imagine.

This is the world to which we adapt.