Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Don't Steal a Frenchwoman's Towel

One you've learned to run, be it a choice or a necessity, you can never settle—actually, well, you can but it isn't easy (I intend to start all of my blogs with a rebuke).  There are these moments when it's quiet, you're alone, things are tough or you don't have anything better and this little thing in the back of your mind always telling you;

You can run.

Run Alan, run.

This is where I find myself standing on a park bench at Piazza Del Popolo looking at twin churches and an obelisk explaining to my mother over the phone how I have finally found a safe apartment and am already considering moving to another.

Nearby is the Cerasi Chapel, housing Caravaggio's The Conversion of Saint Paul on the Road to Damascus and The Crucifixion of Saint Peter.  The church is closed, it's close to midnight. 

For the past few days I've been staying at a rented room in a large French Woman's apartment at a relatively poor location just south of Circo Massimo (the remains of Circus Maximus), a painful subway ride away from the center of the city.

(When I say "large" I refer to both the apartment and the French Woman)

This woman is a native of France, she speaks Italian, French and English, slowly, and most of the things in her apartment are green.

I've only agreed to pay rent by the week and there are so many rules at this place!

There is no grocery store within miles!

I am not allowed to cook any food in the kitchen after 8:00 p.m.

Everything smells weird?  Perfumey like.

I can't stay here!

I have an offer to live in a four bedroom apartment with three other girls in their early twenties. ; )

Fours Company!


Lion Statue at Piazza Del Popolo at Night.


The Apostle Paul seemingly about to be stomped on by his own horse during his Conversion on the Way to Damascus (Caravaggio, image taken from the public domain)


When I took the apartment with the French woman I was desperate.  It almost seemed as though I would have to abandon my plan to write a novel (about America) in Italy the way Captain Francesco Schettino abandons his own cruise shi—

I shouldn't even say it.

This apartment gave me new hope!  

I was going to make it!  I was going to be a known writer some day.  I am still sure of this!

The French woman didn't seem to find this very interesting nor did the busy student who also lived in the apartment.

The large French woman did seem to find life in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, exciting and glamourous.

She really did!

As I read an old email sent to a friend, one interesting thing I wrote about the apartment that I can't remember for the life of me is that there was a cat that weighed "about 100 pounds."

If I once wrote it, it must be true.

Now I stand in my new apartment and one of the three female roommates (a native of Sante Fe) is describing me as a typical American as I stand in the kitchen and drink milk out of the carton.  I should note this scene from my room there;




Don't leave home without it.

This apartment is located in Prati, blocks north of Vatican City, there are issues as to whether I can stay past April but inevitably I will stay here.

Here is a story about attending Sunday Mass at the Vatican.  You go through a metal detector to get in and there are two anxious body guards standing on each side of the Priest incase anyone tries to pull any funny business over communion.

And there were these statues everywhere!

This will inspire Chapter 17 of Bar Fight.

I have this nice apartment now.  I have nice roommates as friends.  Still this thing in the back of my mind tells me, run Alan, run!  

I live life in the fast lane!

Why do you have to run you might ask?  

You have to live fast to escape a guilty conscious.

Why might you have a guilty conscious one might ask?





The reason I really came to this apartment was because it was in a much better location.  After crossing a few bridges it's a straight shot road to historic center at Piazza Navona, a nice walk too, with plenty places to stop for gelati along the way.

The thing I remember from the walk is lamps strung out at night.

Cobblestone streets.  Ancient buildings.

I was making frequent runs to the apartment complex where the Frenchwoman lived awaiting a replacement Citizen's Bank debit card traveling there at a high of speed through the mail after the original was sucked up by an ATM at a bank in Vicovaro Italy, that according to an email "was being run for sure by the mafia." 

It never sucked back out.

I had not money his whole time!

I was getting hungry!

This was the moment, my chance to be wild and free!

I wanted to run.

The Frenchwoman's apartment was in a modern part of town, where I once snuck into a construction site (in college) to use a porta-john (after running at the track that was once the Circus Maximus after eating a little too much pasta and red wine beforehand).  I remember orange trees in the courtyard and a little black gate to get in.

The thing I remember when I think of that part of town is the sun sinking through a hazy sky.    

Everywhere I ran led to Rome.  

I should have been in Vicovaro with my debit card!

I might not really have a guilty conscious.  Yet by the time I moved through three hostels, three apartments, toured four, hounded a hundred scammers on the phone, in the first week and a half, drank too much wine and received my debit card from the porter behind the little black gate, I was ready to earn one.  Here's a story, one time Glen Frey (of the Eagles) was rushing down the "freeway with a drug dealer known as 'The Count.'  Frey asked 'The Count' to slow down and the response was, 'What do you mean? It's life in the fast lane!' "  That's where they got the idea for a song.

That's a quote straight out of wikipedia that came from a source called [citation needed]

Life in the fast lane!

I was surviving on Kebabs and now I didn't have to because I had money, but they were so good!

A kebab is like a Turkish version of a gyro.

Some people insist on calling gyros, yeeros.

There is a great place to get the Turkish version of yeeros behind the streets near Piazza Navona.  It's hard to find because it's only open at night.

Extra spicy.

I'm constantly moving through the city looking for the trouble I can run from next.  I strongly believe in the following theory;

It's better to get lost, you see more that way.

That's just about all that I have to say.  Does this make you anxious?  It should because I didn't even mention the part of the story when I steal the French woman's towel.  Here it is;

I stole the French woman's towel.

Actually I only borrowed it but she made me pay a 20 Euro fine!

Now I am staying at another apartment and they give me bath towels for free because the one I forgot is still not here!  This is how I ended up in Rome and now I am settled.  I lived life in the fast lane!  Most importantly everything written in this blog is true.   It is based on an email sent on 1/17/2010.



Alan Michael

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