Spit Roasting and Irrationality

The spit roasts are everywhere, turning, slowly, occasionally to ensure even cooking – but the smell is all wrong.  The sight of so much flesh being burnt makes me take my glasses off so that I can’t see all this so well.  It’s ugly and I fail to understand it all.

The day was full of irrationality – irrational fears, irrational thoughts but not, thank God, irrational actions.  It was a promise made some time ago and that was a long time ago in terms of the feelings. Oh, true, I didn’t want to say ‘yes’ but did as I thought when the day came, it wouldn’t really happen but the day came and a promise is a promise.

Irrational fear 1.  I had got the name of a place from N.  I looked it up. I have no printer so could not print the directions but it looked straight forward enough.  In the UK I would have had no problems.  The signs would be easy to follow, the road numbers always marked, the names of the places logical and in order.  Here, that is not so.  And so I must memorise the way and what I very much hope are the correct things to look for.

I always thought that, as I got older, these things would go away.  It seems not.

So, I am nervous which, in itself, is so stupid but I force myself to do these things in the hope that, at some point, the irrational fear will go away.

As soon as we set off, I wish I were at home, in safety.

Irrational thoughts.  I eagerly await communication and get none.  Even making excuses for it to a dear friend, even when I know the excuse isn’t valid.  Don’t get me wrong here – I know there will be no communication but there’s always hope and, in my irrationality, I also know that if there was communication, it would change everything.  Well, maybe.  So I wait, with and without patience, it doesn’t matter which.

I am not looking forward to reaching our destination because at the destination there is Irrational fear 2.  It waits for me like a huge monster with gaping jaws, ready to swallow me.

I always thought that, as I got older, these things would go away.  It seems not.

I toy with the idea of getting lost, on purpose so that the destination would never be reached.  But that’s stupid too as anywhere in the vicinity of the destination would be good enough, so I might as well get there and get this bloody day over with – it has to be done, after all, a promise is a promise.

The journey is taking longer than I thought.  We set off too late but in my fears, I wasn’t as fast as I should be.

I nearly miss a sign and wonder at how, in all the time I have been here, I rarely miss a sign even if it is small and insignificant and, in this case, above normal ‘seeing’ height.

We arrive at the destination.  We got straight there with no mistakes, of course.  I wonder if it would be plausible to say we should leave immediately to go home, thereby alleviating Irrational fear 2 completely.  We go for lunch.  I can’t eat.  I mean, I eat but I’m just not so hungry, playing with my food, eating slowly.  I think the beer may help, although 3 or 4 would be better.

Irrational fear 2.  Lunch is over.  I have coffee, just to make it last longer.  But I know this is not going away

Irrational thoughts.  Every song that plays seems to have a personal message for me; every book or word I read seems to be saying something.  I know it’s not true – I’m just looking for stuff.  But, even if I tell myself that, it doesn’t make it better; even if other people tell me that, I can’t quite believe it isn’t true.

The heat is intense although, with a breeze, not like Milan.  I say that we should have been here yesterday when Milan was 40° and decidedly stuffy.

Irrational fear 2.  N had told me there were some free areas but these were a long way out and, anyway, it would be worth paying for it.  We pass a free place immediately.  We go to the next ‘not-free’ place.  The nice lady explains it will be €15 each plus extra for the things we want.  She then adds that, in any event, there is no place.

“I wouldn’t have paid that price anyway”, I was told.  That’s the English for you – but then, I am English and of the same opinion.  Plus, since I don’t really see the point of this at all, the whole thing doesn’t make sense to me.  To be honest, nothing makes sense to me these days.

We go back to the free place.  The spit roasting is marching on apace.

Everything glistens in the sun.  I don’t glisten.  I sweat.  I inherited this from my maternal Grandfather.  It all pools down into my belly button – an insect could have a swim.  I must look, within moments, like I have just come out of the shower, my hair wet, sweat running down my back, my neck, my forehead – getting in my eyes and making me curse.

Stones stick into my back, my arms, my legs.  I look around (with glasses) and wonder why these people do this.  The sight of bare flesh not an attractive sight – people always (well, normally) look better clothed.  Even me, now, with my flesh that has gone a little bit wrinkly and saggy.  But, at least I’m not as bad as some.  I take my glasses off anyway and everyone looks decidedly better

Irrational thoughts.  I lie back and close my eyes to the glare, feeling so uncomfortable because of the sweat, the stones, the heat.  I wonder if he has the same thoughts as me and, knowing that he doesn’t, hope for it anyway, playing out all the scenarios in my head (except, as I told someone the other day, the one where the answer is ‘no’ since that is over in two minutes and has only a future that I would settle for (and be happy to settle for) but is not the one I desire).

After some time I slip off my shorts.  After some more time I go into the water.  It is dirty and horrible but cooling, even though I know that within minutes of being out I will be the same as before.

After some time, we dress and go back to the same café for a drink.  We only have the ride home now.  I am tired, not having slept well with the Irrational everythings.

We arrive back, sleep for a bit, then go for a beer at the Belgian café, then a Chinese at my favourite place.  I am happy now since the day is over and can joke about going there again tomorrow, knowing that we won’t.

Irrational thoughts continue though.  The waiting continues.

The other day, someone said that, previously, I had been completely irrational at times.  It made me smile since, I am sure, I was completely irrational all the time – but it was a kind thing to say that all the same.

I always thought that, as I got older, these things would go away.  It seems not.

Embarrassment in the Lift

Italians are meticulous about cleanliness…….inside their houses. Outside it can look like it’s run down or neglected. Outside they’re happy to put up with dog poop in the street, throwing litter, overflowing rubbish bins, etc. But inside the house, everything must be spotless.

The shame is that this trait does not extend to personal hygiene. OK, so that’s unfair as not all Italians are like this (and, of course, some (many) Britons suffer the same problem). However, ride on any bus/tram/metro carriage, particularly in summer, and the stench can be quite unbearable. During the summer months I regularly take 2 or three showers a day (and, on a rare occasion, four).

But last night was a tad embarrassing. There is a person, in our building, who seems to have a problem with their water supply. I think the person lives on the fifth floor but I have obviously never met them, as I would remember, believe me.

Unfortunately, when the person leaves the lift, they leave behind an odour that, to be frank, makes me want to heave. So much so that, as they normally use the right-hand lift, I now will happily wait for the left-hand lift, even if the right-hand lift is ready to go.

We were a bit worried as we wondered if the other people in the building thought it was us or, to be more precise, the dogs. I can assure you it is not. Sure, when it rains they can be a bit whiffy, but that’s a doggy smell. This smell is an unwashed-for-ages smell.

Yesterday, as we were off to visit FfI, a friend who had a rather serious accident about a week ago, I was in a bit of a rush. With the temperature at about 35 degrees or higher, going to get some trashy magazines for her followed by essentials from the supermarket (wine, vermouth – oh yes and washing powder), I ended up with about four heavy bags (they use thick glass in wine and vermouth bottles :-) ).

By the time I got to the flats, I was hot. I have this unfortunate ‘problem’, inherited from my Grandfather, of sweating profusely in heat when it is coupled with the slightest form of exertion. It’s not that I’m not fit, although I could be fitter. It has been happening since I was in my twenties, if not before.

But the sweating comes on big time only when I stop doing the exertion. So it was yesterday evening. I got in through the lobby door, collected the post and a lady from the fourth floor came in just after me and as the left hand lift was there, opened it. As I was getting the post, I slowed down a little. I thought ‘OK, I can wait for that lift’ (the other was on the fifth floor – and I know what that means).

However, she held the lift door open, seeing that I had a lot of bags, and offered to share the lift. I accepted and walked into the lift. The next few minutes for the lift to reach our floor seemed to last half a lifetime. >As soon as the door closed I did my usual impression of Niagara Falls. Unfortunately, it’s highly visible and there is absolutely nothing I can do to stop it. I try, in my head at least, to squash into the corner of the lift and I don’t look at her for the shame of seeing the look in her eyes. The look of shock or horror. I was grateful to escape the lift.

Then, as I am unlocking the door, I wondered if she thought it was me who made the other lift stink? I hope not.

To be honest, the heat last night (and hurrah that it has finally arrived) was so hot that no matter what I do I have a permanent film of perspiration. It gets worse after a shower, even if the shower is cool, but at least I feel clean. However, this is the weather that I prefer. I can shower as often as possible and would sooner do that than be even a little cold.