Rental diaries, vol. 2
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Rental diaries, vol. 2

Wed 07 Jun 2017 2:00 PM

Sam is the son of a teacher and a writer—professions that people who land in Florence often have or hope for. His family’s was supposed to be a short sabbatical from their suburban life, but ended up being a two-year stay during Sam’s teenage years.

He recalls, vividly, the night they arrived jetlagged, listless expressions all around and luggage not necessarily so. A leg of their trip had been delayed, but rather than reschedule the apartment visit they’d set for that evening, his parents decided to tough it out and show up an hour late. All in the name of adjusting.

The Florentine owner had been very agreeable with the kind Massachusetts family, but the visit, Sam says, felt alarmingly hurried, so much so that even a 16-year-old could pick up on it. Something about the way this guy was herding his parents around the place felt…off. What was he hiding? Why wasn’t there time to go upstairs, exactly?

Sam’s mother opened her mouth to ask a question, but thought better of it and said, “You seem to be in a rush, we’re sorry, we’ll get out of your way.”

The owner let out a huge sigh of relief. “I’m sorry. This was a bad idea. But the truth is it’s my birthday and I’m late for the party.”

“Aaah!” his mother exclaimed, smiling and eager to please the accommodating proprietario. “Buon natale!”

And with that, they were out the door.




Rental Diaries column by Mary Gray is now a book, buy it directly or on


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