You are browsing the archive for 2010 December.

Can’t Sell Him; Can’t Take Him Back

December 29, 2010 in spazarific, The Odd Siblings

This is what I wear at winter time these days: a double breasted empire waist pea coat I bought in Japan and a knit turquoise beret I bought in Terracina last month. I love my winter things. I think I am so cute. I am so cute, no matter what Diego says:

  • You’re looking very… old world.
  • What’s with you now? That coat. That hat. Are you eighty?
  • You’re not wearing that to the bar. Take it off. Take it off now.
  • Shouldn’t you be sweeping chimneys or something?
  • Take. It. Off. Would you just take that stupid hat off?
  • Say hello to your friend, Oliver, for me.
  • Can we get you a new coat in New York? Please? Yours is killing me.

But I’m so cute.

Triptych

December 26, 2010 in spazarific

First of all, the streets are too narrow, built in bygone times when people got round on donkeys, and everybody, everybody, is double-parked. Then you have the bicycles. You have the vespe, zooming backwards and forwards and sideways and wtf? A delivery truck clogging up the entire street. Old people, stooped and shuffling. Let’s not even talk about the other cars themselves. Forty thousand people in a city two miles long. Horns are beeping. Hands are waving. Imbecile! Lout! Where do you think you’re going? Stuck at a traffic light, waiting for right of way, I spaz and default to English: Where do you think I’m gonna go when the light is red? Shut up! The light is red, jerk! Get off my ass, sir! Get. Off. My. Ass!

My neighbor, Maria, says: You should try driving in Rome! I lived there for eight years and the traffic here is nothing compared to the traffic there. Great. You’re better than me. But look. The truth is that some people are made for car living and some people just ain’t. I ain’t. How do I know? Well, car accident-related PTSD aside, I’ve never been good at driving anyway. Nervous. Spacey. Short. My friends Koko and Greta called me Miss Daisy in high school. I’m even spacier and shorter now – the latter, courtesy of said car wreck-related injuries.

My adventures in driving school and vandalism and parking? Just the tip of the iceberg.

Read the rest of this entry →

My Backyard

December 3, 2010 in spazarific

I present to you La Maga Circe at nightfall, drowning in a sea of pinks and purples. This is one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen in my life. This? Is my backyard.

This post has been brought to you by Delicious Baby Photo Friday.

Caffè Part Due: Working With the Machine

December 2, 2010 in spazarific

There’s a new order these days ever since I’ve had wheels, which is to take care of my travel article researching/pitching in the mornings, then head to a coffee shop in the centro to work on my writing – the real writing, the fiction, the thing I’m here to do in the first place. This does not appear to be a done thing where I live; I imagine it’s different in the bigger cities, but it would appear that the aspiring artist-in-caffè trend hasn’t yet hit Terracina. There’s no WiFi in the caffè I frequent- which means that I can actually get work done – and there’s just me on my laptop, clacking away, as the people trickle in and out, in and out. They get their coffee, or their snack platters of olives, chips, and panini. Their mugs of dark melted chocolate; sweet soup for crunchy biscotti. Me? I get an aranciata – orange soda – or a pot of tea if I’m feeling saucy.

I usually work for three hours – as long as my laptop battery lasts. Italian pop plays on the sound system; a TV overhead. Rain and more rain outside, making the streets slick. Inside, I get casual stares; is it because I’m the only one with a laptop or the only one not drinking caffeine? Sometimes I recognize a face, but usually I don’t which is good, because I’m supposed to be getting work done, after all. And I write. Not my novel, as it turns out, even though that’s what I’m here to do. Lately, all I want to do is write short stories. And there are loads of them. And they all fall under a theme (!). Surely that can’t be awful, can it? Even if my novel cries out in thirst?

When I leave, the man at the till always says: You had the aranciata, right?

Right.

1.50.

Here it is.

And then: Get much work done today?

Today was a success. Thank you.

Thank you.

How writers ever got anything done before caffès, I have no clue.

Tales of Thanksgiving in Italy

December 1, 2010 in spazarific

It’s a holiday that doesn’t exist where I am – talk about it to the 10 people I know in town and I get blank eyes, blank faces. I’m used to that by now – four years of expat life and all – but each November I make it happen anyway. I find my guests. I get a chicken. I scour the supermarket for anything remotely resembling cranberries and cream of mushroom soup. Keep your Memorial Days and your Fourth of Julys; your Valentine’s Days and your Religious Whosits; Thanksgiving is the holiday I always celebrate no matter where I am or who I’m with. I need the togetherness. I need the ritual of giving thanks. I need the pure Americana of it all. I need the stuffing.

Thanksgiving is my Graceland, sir.

Read the rest of this entry →