We would have waited in line for train tickets, but we saw an automated vending machine for tickets. We got in the very short line for that, but found we were standing behind a gaggle of Italian women who had to really struggle with the machine for a long time to get it to vend them their tickets. While they were struggling, Janet went and stood at a longer line at another machine.
The Italian ladies figured out they had to ask for S. Whatever, instead of Saint Whatever, then they had to figure out what train they wanted, and so forth, and finally how to pay for it. Just as they finished purchasing the ticket they proceeded to stumble through another, and another, and another … as Janet’s line quietly shrunk in size. I figured that the line would blaze as soon as the ladies were done, because behind them stood a Japanese lady, and an Italian man who started coaching the ladies’ transactions from behind.
Janet got to her machine first, but not before a young man she figured was German kept changing his mind about the details of his transaction. After she deftly coaxed our ticket from the machine, she explained that the Americans in her line seemed entirely proficient with the automated ticket machine, which I took as a point of national pride. Of course, we forgot to validate our ticket when we got on the train. We noticed this fact just as the train was scheduled to depart, and as I explained to Janet how if I jumped the few feet over to the little gadget that would “validate” our tickets, the train would start rolling, leaving me on the station platform with her right to travel on the train that she was on with our luggage, and the train began to roll, and I explained that validating your ticket was not at all a big deal, because the conductor knows we’re dumb tourists anyway, and we’re just doing our part to make him write more stuff on our tickets, and besides, hey, we still know how to work a simple computer, which is saying a lot in Italy.