Satori In Rome (In Progress) Day 14
I’m currently writing this short novella—or whatever the hell—while spending about a month in Italy before heading to Thailand. Been here about two weeks. This, I wrote where I left off in the script. Or whatever it is, so far…
The plane ride was a cinch. Lemme tell ya. There were astronauts in the atmosphere and the sky stayed black for all of eternity. And then the clouds rumbled us along into the different layers of the Earth. Like an onion. Without the smell. And the tears were soon forgotten.
We rode. I thought about a lot of things. And at the same time, I thought about nothing. I guess I thought about locating my luggage once we got off the plane. And I tried to identify the stewardesses with their little funny hats. For whatever reason, I surmised that they might be Spanish. Then I made fun of myself for thinking there were Spanish stewardesses on a plane to Italy.
It hadn’t hit me, really. I didn’t think about it — what I was doing and where I was going. There’s some Zen to that, you know. That’s what I was after, always. Evermore. The darkness of the cabin, I got up to void some urine. Good.
And then it was morning, somehow. The Cliff bars had been a good investment. My belly, stomach, I was hungry. We were landing and everybody was waking up and the sunlight was there and I saw the fields and I started laughing to myself. Holy shit! You cow-farming sonofabitch, you made it! You got here. You made it to Italy! Look at the bushes, the fields, the trees, the sunlight, the clouds, the rain, no — there’s no sunlight. Just rain, and clouds, and the fields — the fields of Italy! A seven-hour flight with mucho travail. Bumps in the clouds. I’d forgotten about the utility bills. Fuck Comcast! Fuck the water bill! Fuck the bill for electricity! Fuck the AC-unit in the wall! Fuck the gas bill! Fuck the Ben Franklin Bridge! Fuck Newark! Fuck everything and everyone! Fuck America!
(I remember looking back at the city. That would stay with me. That darkness, those lights, that graveyard of the future…)
We landed. Bump, bump a-rump.
The rest are glib details. Being in an airport is boring stuff. I waited for my luggage, switching tenses coz I can and coz this is my story … talking to my father … I’M TRACKING YOU, he said. CREEPY, I responded.
I got my luggage and collaborated with the Airbnb host. CIAO. I thought about the stewardesses. So that’s where they hid all the beautiful ones — up in the sky like that. Smiling. Good at their jobs. Riding the clouds and the jet streams, the rainy droplets of condensation pouring down to the Earth, forevermore.
I got a taxi. The lady had tattoos. She’d slipped when getting into the driver’s seat. She was a part of a crew of boys — madmen, really. With slicked back locks of hair, curly. Italians with thick accents, asking me — WHERE ARE YOU GOIN’? But in their native tongue. TAXI.
Okay, she had tattoos — she flew. 90 MPH. I was terrified, looking around. I checked a word on my phone. CLOSE?
She looked at me.
(I didn’t yet know how to pronounce my Cs.)
She rambled. AYE. MAMIE. IMPOSSIBLE.
The rain came down and the wind sheared through us like a butterknife, twigs fell from the pines and the traffic pulled us along until it was a dead stop.
She wanted to know how old I was, her eyes twinkled and gleamed at me. I felt nervous. I felt secure.
Mi Mama. Italiano.
She wanted to know — where from (see me breaking the rules of grammar, drinking boxed wine as I type these words. With a candle at my elbow.)
And my grandfather was from Sicily. His family.
She laughed. “Sicily.”
The trees were all around us. There were fields. Mellow fields with nothing else to do but to be a field, European soil. I felt at ease. Scurrying in that van — I thought about what it would cost.
I was completely surprised when it cost more than two times what I thought it would.
150.00 — she wrote that on an envelope when we got to the Airbnb in the rain.
Aye. Shit. No. No good. Let me speak with the manager.
She called her boss. We argued.
UBER CHARGES 130 RIGHT NOW.
I do 130 for you.
I only got 120.
Can I use my card?
Yeah, but tax is 20 percent.
Shit. That. Shit. You.
The woman taxi driver put her head on the steering wheel. I was all fucked up from the plane. And everything else.
Eventually, I got the Airbnb’s host’s mother on the horn. She came out to greet me. (I didn’t have service with my phone because I was running from the law! No, I’m only kidding. That’s a fabrication, of course.)
WHAT IF THE LANDLORD COMES AFTER US.
My mom, always worried.
“Sit down,” she said.
I had just told her about the $150 — no, I don’t have the key, the symbol for Euros on this keyboard!
We talked about the crazy cost. And she said it was too much. She showed me around the house. She left.
It was finally … quiet.
So the week went like that. All the way up until I’d go to Rome.
Just me and The Swamp, back there. With work. And wine. And food. And getting lost. And the sun came out the next day.
The clouds floating on by, doing the backstroke.
I went out there.
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