It was a typical Friday afternoon. At the end of the classes, Marco hung out with his classmates. To tell the truth, he went out with them only to see Chiara: a dynamic, cheerful and interesting girl. Marco defined himself as a very wise boy, therefore too boring and not handsome at all. In addition, he was shy. A kind of shyness which takes care of intimacy and introspection, but which is old-fashioned at school. On Friday afternoons, they used to talk about the last-hour test, the upcoming school party and the number of beers to buy for the party at Monica’s house. Nothing interesting. As always, from Marco’s point of view. While he was listening to his friends in the background, while he was listening to Chiara laughing whole-heartedly, while the noise of the tram was mingling with the voices of the people walking around Piazza Castello in Turin, he stared at that wall, that precise corner of the wall.
“Excuse me a moment” Marco takes his leave. He moves away from the group. “What is that?”, he cannot stop thinking about it since he saw it. His friends look at him suspiciously: “What is he doing?”.
Near a disused public telephone, he saw a yellow card with this quote: “If you are not happy, you are in the wrong place. Go to Piazza San Carlo and look for me in a safe place.” Marco turns around, the others keep watching him. “Sorry guys, I will be right back.” Without considering what they will think of him, he turns back and walks down Via Roma. Piazza San Carlo is very big. He finds nothing. He sits in the middle of the square, under the statue. A safe place? Marco looks up. In front of it there are the two churches, the symbol of the square. “Of course…” He jumps up and guess what? Next to the door of the church on the right, he sees another yellow card.
“Using your brain to think is the first step to be happy. The second is the journey. All straight on.” Via Roma, then Piazza San Carlo to reach Porta Nuova. It is the main city train station: the beginning or the end of a journey. Marco runs towards his destination. At its main entrance, he finds nothing. “What now? Let’s try the side entrance .” Here it is, the yellow card: “The way to achieve a goal is not always the most obvious one. To be happy you have to find alternative ways, you have to find them together with someone. It is important to meet other people, to sit down with someone and get to know that person, we are all actors in a story.” Marco has already understood: he has to go back, he has to go in front of the theatre. Let’s try the nearest one: Teatro Carignano. The yellow card is on the plant pot at the entrance.
“In order to be happy, it is important to know how to communicate.”
And now? There is no clue. What can I do? What a waste of time. All this for nothing. “What am I going to tell the others now that I will go back? I cannot say I wasted my time like this!”
However, on his way back to his friends, taking the road in the opposite direction, he finds himself at the payphone. “Of course, knowing how to communicate!” He inspects the phone, looks up and down, and as he picks up the handset, a yellow paper falls out.
“Either you are as old as I am, so you are still using the public phone, or I have taken you on a joy trip in search of happiness. I am not telling you to be happy right away. I am telling you that if you started this journey as a sad man, you have now returned to the starting point as a different person, wiser, more curious and also more tired. I am a grumpy old man who enjoys playing these games. Next time you find a yellow ticket around the town, leave it where it is, maybe others have started up. By now your little journey is over: the destination is the starting point, but it is the traveller who has changed. Here is the real end. Enjoy your happiness.”
All of Marco’s friends had approached the phone. “Guys I have to tell you what has just happened to me, you won’t believe it!”. And while all his schoolmates were hanging on his words, and Chiara looked at him interested for the first time, he felt unusually happy.