Tuesday, February 02, 2010

More Adventures In Italian

Back when I was in the Navy, I spent three years stationed in Italy. We said we were stationed in Naples, but really the base was in Agnano. There was the Navy base, and about half mile up the road was the NATO base. Between the two bases, there lived a prostitute that everyone called Humpty Dumpty, and the hill she lived on was called Rubber Hill. But that's a story for another time.

I lived on the Navy base, the Command headquarters was on the NATO base, but I worked at yet another base--an outlying site we called Receiver Site.

Now, I don't know what it was about the Receiver Site. Maybe it was because it was kind of out in the middle of nowhere, but the electricity was forever going out. The power company over there was called ENEL, and because they would so frequently drop power, we had these gigantic generators at the Receiver Site, so we could keep all out equipment up and running during power outages. And I mean, these things were huge. You could park a car inside one, and not scrape the paint. A single person could hollow one out and live quite comfortably inside of it. Ahhh, but I digress...

Since I worked at an outlying site, during every shift someone had to drive into command headquarters, AFSouth, and pick up the mail, the Plan of the Day, and whatever other paperwork, etc. was needed for the site. During the day shifts, this was done by the admin clerk, but on nights and weekends, someone on the watches had to do it. We called this The Run.

One sunny Saturday afternoon, I was coming back from making The Run when I noticed the gas was getting low. Standard Operating Procedure was that when the gas got below half a tank, we were to put more gas into it. I pulled into the nearest gas station. The attendant immediately came running out shouting something that sounded like

No-lay-TREE-key
No-lay-TREE-key

I had no idea what he was trying to say. I shook my head, and he repeated the phrase a few more times. I still wasn't getting it. Finally, in frustration, the attendant blurted out, "ENEL phbbbt!" Oh! I got it! I understood then that he was trying to say,

No electricity.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

now that is seriously funny ...
( knittingonestitchatatime -- hubby Mr80grit)... i also did Navy-- 6 years...

Sus said...

Hee!! I love your stories from the Service!

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