Gallarate station is not a particularly attractive place at any time, and after the last train at 12.45 is utterly without charm.
I was waiting for the bus home to Varese, and smoking with two men in their fifties, taxi drivers on their way home from work.
'You shouldn't be waiting here alone. There's a lot of ugly people around at this time of night.' When people say this to me I always wonder what evidence there could possibly be that THEY are not among the ugly ones.
We talked about the bus schedule. Why, I asked, did the night bus need to leave 45 minutes after the last train? 'Well, you see, the bus before leaves at 12.30, and if this one was any earlier it wouldn't have time to get back from Varese.'
The other man looked me up and down in the dim streetlight. 'Say, do you have blonde hair or white hair?'
'Something between the two, I guess.'
'Because it's like an illness with me. I'm like a crazy man. I love- tanti, tanti, tantissimo- anche con la faccia bruta - I love women with white hair.'
(Even with an ugly face- Gwen there's a good example of a backhanded compliment)