Saturday, August 28, 2010

My First Day Back In Town

Rome. I'm in its limits. Huh.

The two main issues are mainly the heat and the wi-fi. As complaints go: There's worse. The library's nice and there's a fantastic iced cappuccino available for under $2, so it's hard to complain. Also, there' s a ground based power outlet, which means I can type this. I should talk to the guy who does wifi.

Under 24 hours later, I've got wireless internet, the iced cappuccino is still fantastic.

I ought to explore Rome, which often means making decisions that involve basically ignoring my ingrained desire to have outs of situations. In other words: Say yes to ideas like finding a bar at midnight in a shady part of town, or getting off of a bus before the right stop because everyone else is doing it. (And yes, I did just call Rome a town. It's so Midwest of me. I know.) The ingrained desire is to always have a way home on my own. My safety and autonomy are paramount, back home. Here, I have to learn very carefully to ignore that in favor of something more enjoyable and restrictive.

I know I'm using the prescriptive in that last paragraph. For example, the getting off the bus with a gaggle of other kids I only loosely know, but united in the fact that we're all American did not end well, if the destination was the bar. We never found it, and getting off the bus with the other drunk Americans was the first bad decision that led to other ones. The group split again, between the people who were sure where they were going and the couple (handsy boy and handsy girl) with the map.

They split, with hesitant promises to meet up at the Spanish Steps. I headed with the couple, with whom we braved the roman streets. The cars didn't stop for anything, which meant we dodged cars and ran across hazy cobblestone lanes a lot. It hit me when we got to the river in the middle of the city, (which I'm not looking up because as soon as I get on the internet, I'll never leave) that I was very much not at home.

We skirted the bright, noisy tents of the circus/festival on the banks of the sky and I knew instantly, there is an analogue for this in the City, but nothing really like this feeling of being among friends and being very, very far from home. There was a language spoken I didn't recognize, bright lights and lots of people who did not look like they wanted to rob me. In other words: an air of intoxicating possibility. Shit, there was even a bridge that didn't have some obvious mechanism to raise it. There were lots of these bridges! As far as my eye could see (say, about two either way), bridges carved by hand.

We traipsed up the Spanish Steps, finally. I hummed the chorus to Spanish Bombs,by the Clash for the rest of the night. We split up from the handsy couple (likely to their delight) somehow, and after finding them only after becoming certain we were taking a cab to our next destination, which ended up being the wrong place, and sent us on another adventure.

That another adventure will be on Wednesday. This is a natural stopping point, anyway.

But for now, I'll end with the Clash's Spanish Bombs, since it's

a) a great song
b) germane to both
b i) my state of mind
b ii) the place

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