Bet you didn’t know that the drive-by shooting was invented by the Ukrainian anarchist-revolutionary, Nestor Makhno.
Wikipedia’s helpful page puts it like this:
He combined horse and carriage with a machine gun in order to quickly assault targets then flee before they could properly react.
Once motorised transport became ubiquitous, the tactic was widely adopted by gangsters on motorbikes, as pictured in the movie Gomorrah.
Anyway, I was searching for a metaphor to describe a particular sort of hard-to-answer question that people I don’t know at all occasionally send me, hoping presumably that I’ll take the time to help them.
This from Janice, who is a woman of few words, albeit formal ones:
Could you please advise whether your Italian courses on onlineitalinaclub.com prepares one for the B1 exam.
The spelling mistake in the club website address is hers, by the way.
And the subject line of the email was ‘B1 spousal passport exam’, so I assume Janet has in mind taking Italian citizenship, though she doesn’t bother to say so in the email.
Nor does she mention whether she’s studied Italian before, what her current level in Italian is, WHICH B1 exam she is thinking of taking (there are several) and WHEN she plans to take it, all information that would inform any sort of intelligent answer.
Drive-by shootings aren’t always effective – the projectiles may hit the wrong target, or nothing at all, or simply wound the intended victim rather than finishing them off.
Perhaps that doesn’t matter? Shoot off enough bullets fast enough and you’re going to make an impression, one way or another.
Perhaps that’s why people fire off vague emails at presumably multiple random targets late on a Saturday night – there’s always a chance that someone will answer…
Call me a sucker but first job after getting out of bed on Sunday morning was to write back with this:
Our website would be useful for an experienced language-learner who knew how to proceed, Janice, though it does not provide everything that would be needed.
However, assuming you are a beginner or near beginner, to reach B1 and certify that for the purposes you describe, I’d estimate you’d need three months of full-time study, or three years of part-time study, then, towards the end of that time, a focused preparation for whichever exam you choose to take (there are several and they differ in format).
As I’ve said, someone who had successfully taught themselves a foreign language in the past could probably get there using our website, but would still need to look at some past papers and so on before taking the exam. For anyone else, though, the simplest and most effective solution would be to take a proper course and so be guided by professional teachers who knew exactly how to prepare you.
My wife, who runs an Italian language school, volunteers that she deals with questions like this all the time and would be happy to advise you further. You can find contact details here: https://madrelinguaitalian.com/contact-us/
Notice I managed to resist mentioning that more information on her situation would have been helpful?
Or that, with a minimum of effort (reading language school websites, for example) she could have found the answer by herself?
Sometimes it’s a strain.
Ever dropped a stone into a well then listened for a splash, which never came?
That was my other metaphor option.
My email received no rely, not even a ‘Grazie mille’.
So, for anyone scratching around for an original idea for a New Year resolution (here are the top ten choices from 2019), what about this?
1. I resolve to remember, when using ecommerce and online services, that not everyone I interact with is a ‘bot’.
2. I therefore further resolve to treat online/telephone customer-service staff with at least the same respect as I reserve for people who help, or try to, when I ask them face to face. Such as when I visit a shop, or the enquiries desk of an organisation.
Talking of which, a month or so ago I bought some sneakers from a small chain of Italian sportswear shops, which also has an ecommerce operation that cropped up in my Google search for a particular model and size: https://www.nencinisport.it/it/
A day or so after my order, on a Saturday afternoon (which I remember because I’d gone to bed for a siesta and my smartphone ringing startled me out of a dream), Nencini Sport’s ecommerce guy called me up to say that the box the shoes should have been sent in was damaged or missing (I was sleepy and didn’t get all the details), and would it be all right if he sent them, well-packaged, without the box?
That was fine, I said. And I appreciated being asked, I told him. Then went right back to sleep.
See? There are real people out there, and some of them are willing to make a little extra effort.
We should value them more.
For anyone who’d like to study Italian actually IN ITALY, don’t forget that our Italian school is having it’s annual promotion.
Details can be found here – 2020 Italian Course Offer: Just 48 hours To Go!
And also… um… what was it that I wanted to mention?
Ah yes: don’t forget to listen to Saturday’s bulletin of ‘easy’ Italian news, will you?
There’s a striking picture of Garibaldi, who was a biscuit when I was a lad, but anyway.