from Roma capoccia - Cronache di una metropoli in 23 scrittori:
Roma non è solo una città: è metafora, norma, paradigma, canone, testo, immaginario, meta e percorso dello sguardo, del cervello e dell’anima, del linguaggio, accademico e comune. Ma è pure quotidianità. Si lavora, si fa l’amore, si canta, si cucina, si muore, si uccide. Come dovunque. Ma tutto ciò che è relativo in questa città, tutto ciò che è cronaca di questa città, tutto ciò che accade giorno dopo giorno in questa città non puo non condividere un’aura di assolutezza. Di eternità. Di terreno e di sovrannaturale. È un privilegio assoluto vivere qui, è anche una fatica vivere qui. È un dono straordinario. Quasi insupportabile. Si può buttarlo via e restarvi indifferenti, distrarsene: è un modo di sopravvivervi. Si può restarne schiacciati, afasici, imbambolati: è un modo per viverci. Chiunque viva o sopravviva qui mostra il massimo dell’affezione e il massimo della distrazione verso ciò che lo circonda, in cui è immerso. È nello stesso tempo radicato e in esilio, è in esilio da ciò in cui è radicato. Sarebbe davvero un’estrosità, una stravaganza considerare solo locale e stracittadino quel che accade qui. Roma è capoccia.
everything always sounds so good in this language.
[Via Urbana, Roma]
[domenica 23 settembre 2007 ore 11:34:02] [¶]
on Thursday i spend two and a half hours teaching six American Study Abroad students about Intercultural Communications. it makes me think of what Study Abroad did to me. it makes it hard not to wonder, how many of them will be in this country, fighting permessi and tasse and regole che sono fatte solo per i stranieri, in four years.
on Friday i take the slow train (because there is no other), to Camucia-Cortona. i pick my favorite kind of seat (facing eastward, facing the back of the train so you can see the past unfurl before you, so you can see the future merge in). i read The Girl from the Chartreuse, and i try to let the man across from me understand that i am not in the mood to talk to him -- that i am having a profoundly personal day, that i am not a morning person, and that i would like only to alternate between watching Italy go by, and pulling sunlight in through my eyelids. by the time we reach Orte -- as if it should surprise me -- i feel better and calmer, and more whole, than i have felt, since i got here.
i get to Cortona, and walk up to the bar that serves Lavazza (Ciro asks me later, when i tell him where i am: "hai scelto Lavazza a posta?" -- and i say "ma certo!"). i get to remember how much i love the little panini con tonno e capperi. i read la Gazzeta dello Sport (because the old man at the next table is hogging all the other papers), and i learn that Pavarotti is dead. i read what Beppe Grillo has to say about him, and find that i like reading Beppe Grillo, in Italian, in an Italian newspaper.
Ciro shows up. (for those of you who missed the in-person episodes, Ciro is the ex-boyfriend i had to break up with, when i left Italy, when i moved to Canada, to spend what was set to be eight years, getting my parents a couple of non-Pakistani passports.)
he is the same, the car is the same, and Cortona is the same. it feels like another weekend among the fifty that we spent here. except that it is Friday. except that there is a rock in my stomach, full of all the unfinished life and love and Lavazza that i will not be getting back, even now that i am here again.
we have lunch at Giorgio's on Via Guelfa. Giorgio tells me how i've lost weight, and he asks me come mai. i tell him it's a long story, and change the subject. it's a beautiful afternoon, and i don't want to fuck it up by telling people how i just spent the last six months watching my father die of cancer. how i wasn't even there when he died, because i was busy bringing extra pillows for his hospital bed.
for the first course, there is hand-rolled pici (i am a pici-lover, but after hand-rolled pici -- how can i ever go back to any other kind), and Giorgio has gleefully decanted a wine that he wants Ciro to guess at. (it is Amarone.)
for the secondo, Giorgio has outdone himself (i know -- i say this every time i come here). you know how there is cow? you know how there is veal? you know how there is Chianina? -- he gives us guancia di vitello di Chianina. i have never had anything so all-roundedly decadent (both in terms of talking about it, and in terms of eating it), in my life.
before lunch we had walked up to Piazzale Garibaldi, to look at that view i knew by heart for so long. and the day was clear-green, and Lago Trasimeno was rounded-all-over, glittering-in-the-hills perfection. and i found it a little hard to breathe.
after lunch we drove down the hills through Foiano. i don't know a road more singularly beautiful, even when the grano is not a sea of gold all around you. even when all the sunflowers are browned and downcast and stand-up-dead.
in the afternoon we went to Lucignano, and i got to fight more demons, more memories, more reminders of everything that is not my life any longer. how so many ghosts can live so quietly inside you for so long, i do not know.
insomma. i made it through a beautiful day.
on Saturday i push myself out of the apartment on Via Urbana. and i walk like my life depended on it, all over Rome, in a pair of blue sneakers and under a cloud of i-don't-know-what. i walk up Via Madonna dei Monti, i turn down Piazza della Minerva, i hover by the Pantheon, i cross the Tevere and i buy a wireless router in Prati. i skirt the Vatican walls, i circle San Pietro, i touch the Tevere again. and finally, i stop for reluctant lunch in Trastevere.
for company, there is the waiter at Gino's, and there is Hemingway. by the time Dina arrives for the afternoon, i have both legs crossed and up on the chair by the table alongside, and Kate's nailpolish job is looking lovely.
on Saturday, it was also La Notte Bianca, in Rome.
on Sunday Ciro and his fellow-Volpi come second in the Slow Food "Campionato di Vino" Wine Challenge. somehow, i am not surprised.
tomorrow is the first time that it will be not just september-eleventh, but tuesday, september-eleventh.
[Ai Tre Scalini, Roma]
[lunedì 10 settembre 2007 ore 15:45:26] [¶]