Attempt at 40 Days of Writing, round 2.
Location: Florence, Italy. In a lovely apartment with comically low ceilings, where two tall people walk around like hunchbacks so as not to hit their heads. but there’s a heck of a view from the terrace, which makes it totally worth it. This is day 11 of a 16 day trip, and this is our third city.
I’ve decided there’s a wrong way to do things, and then there’s the Italian way to do things. And while drinking wine at lunch every day will not likely be one of the “ways” I can adopt, I believe there are some other things I’ve learned from my brief but lovely stint in Italy.
1. Less is more. Almost always. Italians eat pasta and delicious, fatty, cured meats and cheese and bread and pastry — but they don’t eat it all the time. They buy quality leather goods that will last for years — not cheap Chinese knock-offs by the gross. A little sun on the cheeks is good for you, but don’t stay on the beach all day bathed in tanning oil smoking Marlboro Reds. Oh, and black looks good on everyone.
2. Be kind. I think when you’re happier, in general, you are a kinder person, on the whole. Maybe it’s the wine, but I’ve found nothing but kind, helpful, passionate, wonderful people in Italy.The same is not true everywhere! Italians apologize for their “bad” english. That’s just ridiculous, because I just said, “buonjourno! Vorrai una cappuccino per favore,” and you replied, “For here or to go?” Try walking into a coffee shop in the US and asking for coffee in english, in your beautiful accent. You will not get a response in Italian, and you might even get a look as if you have three heads. (“Psssst — hey, barristas, this guy’s not from here…”)
3. Eat good food. Drink decent wine. But not too much.
4. Nikes don’t go with everything. OK, so I learned this from my fellow Americans, but, come ON, people. let’s try and collectively step it up for the sake of our country. At least pretend we’re going into a church and not a gymnasium. There are comfortable shoes out there that don’t look like we’re ready to go for a run (which most of us, let’s face it, are clearly NOT ready to run anywhere, except toward another slice of pizza.)
5. Speak with conviction and passion! I have no idea what 95% of the words you’re saying actually mean, but I would probably follow you, if you gestured for me to do so, while emphatically speaking to me about whatever it is you’re saying. I’m pretty sure you’re not going to take me into a dark alley to steal my Nikes, but if so, you’ll be doing me a favor, so, gratzi!