Despite its continued filthy shittyness, I’m afraid Napoli has lost some of her charm. Maybe I was jaded by the bad arrival to our AirBnB, forcing us to change plans at 12:01am and find a hotel. Maybe it is that so many of the decrepit, boarded up buildings are now bustling with American-tourist style shopping (handbags, high heels, profumo). Or maybe it was only ever charming because I was here with my beloved and now I am not. I mean, I love my Grown Ass Baby Cousin and I go to bed with my tummy hurting from both gluten bombing and laughing until our laugh is what keeps us laughing. But there’s just something about holding hands with your partner with the anticipation of being jumped and knifed, or a world-ending caldera event lurking in the back of your mind.
Please don’t misunderstand me; this visit has been far from awful. I got to meet new
friends that already feel like old ones. We have the good fortune to be visiting during Napoli’s annual pizza festival (see above gluten bombing). AirBnB not only refunded my reservation fully, they are issuing a $100 credit to help offset the cost of the hotel I had to replace it with! Today I got to see actual dead people. And I do look forward to bringing the kids here in August. But I can’t wait to get back to my apartment.
I cleared customs in Germany, which was both very helpful and a little disappointing when upon collecting my bags in Rome I realized I had no long wait ahead of me, but would get no passport stamp from Italy.
Instead of waiting an hour for a customs official too preoccupied with his cell phone and cigarette to even look up and see if my face matched my passport like last year, I rolled my bag off the carousel and straight out into the throngs of waiting drivers.
If that horde wasn’t a metaphora per la vita, I’ve never seen one. An almost imaginary barrier held back the men calling over each other for a fare and just past the desperation, stood the wall of confident men who already have a name. I found the one holding mine on a sign and followed him to my air-conditioned car.
There’s a man at home holding my name, too, and I realize this is not a solo journey. I wouldn’t be here without him. I’m not here without him. He’s in mio coure and on mio mente.
I was working on hour 30 without sleep, so that I was able to locate a supermarket and will my legs to take me to it is all I need to call my arrival a success. I shopped simple and had a rather crude caprese salad for dinner. I’m happy to report that tomatoes still taste as magical as I remember. I’d forgotten that even the black pepper in Europe is better than what is available at home. My olive oil tastes like earth – the way it should. Mozzarella di bufala is sold here the way I buy yarn at home – in 100 gram balls.
I did my dishes and fell into bed for a four hour nap. I woke up around 10pm, made myself a snack of blackberries and Prosecco and played some music. I think I’m going to get used to this.
I’ve tried to remain present. Ram Dass reminds us to Be Here Now, but how do I know he wasn’t in Italy when he wrote that and meant it literally. “Like for real, come over.”
Ok, so I know that isn’t the case. I won’t see my family for a month and a half and I’d be a douche canoe for mentally bailing on them a minute sooner than I part ways at security. It’s a struggle, but it’s right.
I was reminded this afternoon that Mike has the same experience, even as the one I’m leaving behind. He won’t join me for six weeks, but his dance card is full! There are plans of building a new deck, and putting new flooring in the basement. If he is to be believed, I won’t recognize this place when I get home in August.
I guess he got impatient waiting for me to leave, as this is our current situation.
Arrivederci, you decrepit, old, tiny deck and buongiorno, leg-breaking hazard right before I leave.