In his broken English, the elderly Italian café owner took our order, but he hesitated before he moved away and asked my husband if he could ask a question. “Is that a good watch?” he asked. My husband replied yes. “Then put it away,” he advised.
That was our first official sign that Naples had a high crime rate. Although the staff at the hotel in Rome, had warned us about taxi scams and the like.
I immediately took off my watch and zipped it into my purse. My husband, on the other hand, waited until we got back to our hotel, and then took it off and we locked them away in our room. As I looked around after that, I noticed not many people wore watches, especially the tourists. Maybe it was the old boy’s mission to warn us all about the dangers out there.
But to a certain extent, I let the café owner’s warning colour my visit. I became much more cautious, hugging my purse close to me, always zipped up. I’d almost scan an area, looking for potential trouble. If we ended up in a dubious-looking street, I had us turn back.
And when we went for a late drink in the square near our hotel and observed cocaine being bought, sold and used, I was decidedly uncomfortable and anxious to leave Naples, with its crime and drug scene, behind us.
Yet, it didn’t seem to faze my husband at all. He felt we were being practical, taking steps to protect ourselves and our property, and should just step out, not be afraid and enjoy the experience.
As I reflect on our different reactions, it strikes me that this is perhaps indicative of how men vs. women do business as well.
Men tend to forge ahead, unafraid of risk as they are confident that they’ve taken the right steps and precautions and therefore should succeed.
Women, on the other hand, are more risk averse. Their perfectionism can hold them back as they want it all right before they proceed. One sign of trouble, and they question their wisdom, while men seem to bounce back.
I don’t regret visiting Naples. It was an eye-opener and even fodder for this blog, but my main take away, is that I need to chill, be less nervous and not imagine danger lurking around every corner. (Even if it was).