I have to admit. I have a crush. It’s the lilting tones in his voice, the soft but sexy accent, the way he says “turn.” He came into our lives as the American left. The American with her strong, nasal accent, and her annoying terminology. Sean quickly became part of the team, the three of us as we explore this country. He is another voice, reasoned, never stressed out, only occasionally irritating. And he doesn’t take offence. Not really. Because occasionally we yell at him. Sometimes, when he’s quiet, we comment that we miss the sound of his voice, his presence, his reassurance that all is well.
And yes, Sean does have a few flaws. But at least he doesn’t say “rotary” like the American. Rather, his soft vowels caress the word “roundabout” making us look forward to the next one, rather than cringing as we did in those early days with the American. Likewise, he hasn’t tried to send us up a one-way street and kill ourselves as she did, though to be fair, he has suggested sometimes that we turn (torrrn) into non-existent roads off a mountain, but I’m not going to hold that against him. He is an egalitarian, believing (it seems) that – once off a motorway – all roads are equal. This has worked to our advantage, down scenic lanes lined with stone walls, but also to our disadvantage, taking us through pedestrian only streets, scenic lanes that are so narrow we have to stop and pull in the wing mirrors, and on crazy detours. Sean too has been neglected by his masters, forced to rely on information that is now almost three years old, unaware of developments such as the new ring road around Locorotondo, or smoother connections between the different highways and autostradas. He knows where we live right now, but doesn’t know it is number 27. That’s just not fair. Imagine his sense of defeat and humiliation when I had to ask at the Agip station?
Today we say farewell to Sean. Good-bye, Sean, and t’ank you.