The Melting Pot

We met an Italian cyclist the other day. We met him on a stretch of desert. Until further notice, please assume that all interactions take place on a long, lonely stretch of desert. The rear rack of his bike appeared to be supporting 73 of the used futons donated by the God-Loves-Syrians-As-Long-As-They-Don't-Get-Too-Close-Oh-And-Don't-Forget-To-Vote-For-Trump Fund.

I didn't quite catch his name, but it sounded Italian, or at least foreign.  He said he'd come from Boston. Well, he said it, sort of. He pointed at himself, pointed to the horizon behind himself, and said "Boston" (you may add your own accent and pronunciation).

Barc: "Do you speak English?"

Weathered European with a foreign-sounding, possibly Italian, name: [a negative shake of the head].

Barc again: "French?"

Conveyor of multiple sleeping supports, suitable for speakers of one or more romance languages: [another shake of the head, this time more aggressively, followed by a long stream of spit directed at the pavement between us - he must have been well hydrated].

Still Barc: "Huh. Well I'm tapped out of languages." Then, unsure he'd been clear, Barc tapped the side of his head meaningfully.

Former owner of Coliseum Bedsprings and Bicyclettos:  "Gesu Christo! Spagnolo?"

A Final Barc: [trying to spit, in a when-in-Rome way, but failing - not well-hydrated] "Nope."

And that was it. Though we couldn't find a language in common, a perfect understanding was reached. We understood that there are still tensions between Italy and France, that Spanish is a gateway-language allowing you to cycle diagonally across America, and that Barc can't spit. Without another word, Mussolini's grandson continued west to peddle sleeping aids and, with a Gallic shrug, the Canadians went east, just to pedal.