We had a day off in Milan, and a friend of mine was in town from the States, so we went running around the city all day.
Day turned into night and we headed out to dinner at an outdoor café, where we sat on the outer ring of tables and had dinner and a bottle of wine.
Towards the end of dinner, she got up to go inside to use the restroom and I was sitting there alone trying to figure out why in the hell I was drinking wine, when a guy stopped at the table and started speaking to me in Italian.
I gave him my patented reply when anyone speaks to me in a foreign tongue, “Sorry. English”.
But he wasn’t having it. He kept blabbering away, and then stuck a container of juice or milk in front of my face, like he was trying to sell it to me.
All the while, he had a cigarette dangling from his mouth, which was spilling ashes all over my shirt.
So the Italian gibberish was blaring, he was apparently trying to sell me a beverage for some unknown reason, and he was showering my beloved Seattle Seahawks shirt in cigarette ashes.
By this time the waitress saw that he was harassing me and came over and shooed him away.
End of a fairly dull story, right?
Wrong, because another waitress came over about 10 seconds later and half asked/half yelled, “Your phone?!”
I looked on the table where my phone had been sitting, and sure enough, it was gone.
She then turned and started running down the sidewalk, where the first waitress was already in pursuit of the guy.
I got up, filled to the rim with lasagna and Pinot Grigio, and started after them.
By this time, waitress # 1 and the thief had already turned the corner and waitress #2 was almost there.
That’s when she turned around, saw that I wasn’t joining the pursuit with the same sense of urgency that they were displaying, and screamed in an awesome Italian accent, “Eets your phone, you RUN!!”
So dammit, I ran.
I rounded the corner just in time to see them all the way down the block rounding the next corner. I made some headway and was only a half block away, when I saw that two other people had joined in the pursuit, so now there were five people running down a Milan side street in pursuit of a petty thief.
We passed a second outdoor restaurant, which is about the time that waitress #1 caught the dude and grabbed my phone back.
The people at the other restaurant applauded her as she handed my phone back to me, and the three of us walked the 2 ½ blocks back to our restaurant.
When we returned, everyone had come outside and halfway down the block to see what had happened, and the waitresses received a much deserved hero’s welcome, while I prepped myself for a stomach pump and a defibrillation.
I gave each waitress a nice tip, drank even more wine to mourn the fact that I’m a dumb American who leaves his cell phone out in the open in a foreign country, and then drank a little more to celebrate getting it back.
Which meant that show day in Milan was hangover day for me, because I hardly ever drink any more, and I never drink wine.
But as we all know, the band enjoys seeing me suffer, and I had a good story to tell them, so it was worth it.
And fortunately I made it through the day, because it was one of the best crowds we’ve seen on this run.
There was a serious amount of singing along, and just all of the general madness you hope to see at a show.
Just as we expected, Milan was an absolute blast.
It’s just that the next I’m here, my phone stays in my pocket and I’m swearing off the wine.