As was the case with several interesting things on our trip (Baby Jesus, Brown Cow, etc.) Florence was the place where this scene originated.
Younger Brother, Traveling Companion and I were sitting at breakfast one morning commenting on the amount of album covers that had been framed as artwork and hung in the communal area of the hotel. Quite an eclectic mix, actually, and rather as an afterthought I pointed out a U2 album.
Younger Brother took a bit of cereal, chewed, and swallowed.
"I don't like U2," said Younger Brother. "Well, actually, I don't like anything they did after 1992. I guess before that was OK. But now everyone's all 'Oooooh, U2, la la la,' and Bono's is all 'AIDS in Africa' and I'm over pop stars trying to pretend like they're going to change the world. And in that one song, when they count One, Two, Three, Fourteen, I don't care what it means, it's dumb."*
Bite. Chew. Swallow.
"What?" I said.
"What?" said Traveling Companion.
Younger Brother looked at us like we had perhaps lost our minds, then proceeded to go on one of his 5-minute long rants about the completely strange reasons as to why he likes or doesn't like something, in this case, U2 and "Bow-Noe".
If you've never seen this happen, it's hilarious.
(Massive apologies to Younger Brother- I HAD to relate this story!)
I'm totally not judging him for his dislike of U2 or of Bono in particular. He has his reasons, and while I personally like the band, I respect that. Cool. Right on.
And if it was Traveling Companion, instead of Younger Brother, who had uttered this pronouncement, we would have conversed, finished our cereal, and moved on with our lives in general.
But it's Younger Brother, and hilarious irony tends to follow him, even in Italy.
So suddenly, U2 was everywhere.
It was akin to, say, someone pronouncing they don't like the color green.......right before taking a big trip to Ireland in the springtime.
The news was covering Bono's latest press conference right as we walked by. Restaurants were playing U2 songs. Fans of U2 (because of course, they were touring in Europe at the same time) were wearing shirts, Bono's face flashing at us as we walked down the Italian streets. Even the street musicians were in on the act, covering U2 songs on the corners and in the train stations. And in Barcelona, U2 was actually playing a concert the first night we arrived, and you can imagine the amount of U2-mania that generated- all this only serving to add to our hilarity, and unfortunately irritate Younger Brother even more. Literally, RANDOM STRANGERS were talking to us about U2. Even after we left him in Madrid and went on to Paris to fly home, U2 followed us.
"Uno, Dos, Tres, Catorce...."
*Younger Brother's quote created from a series of paraphrased one-liners from the rant, nearly three weeks after it actually happened.