Monday Morning Coffee Stories

Ugh. Monday. I have a HUGE deadline today, and so I haven’t gotten around to editing down anything my gentle readers have so graciously sent in to be included here.

Therefore, without further ado, I present to you a simple, boring story of my most recent return to Rome.

I’ll get it together tomorrow!


My mobile hotel

“Will I be alone?” I asked the night train steward in Italian as he checked my ticket in Nice. No, I was to expect two other women who would board the train in Imperia. Oh well, at least I had two hours to myself in the cabin with the window open and the view all to myself. Then the Italian women would board, freak out about the chilly air from outside, and we’d all sleep in stifling heat so as not to catch pneumonia.

Imperia came and went. I stuck my head out of the cabin and did the international shrug of WTF. The steward came down the hallway and gave me his guess, which was that they boarded in another car and would be here presently.

Twenty minutes later, he delivered the good news: they had not boarded, and I could go to sleep in peace. OK! See you in the morning somewhere in Umbria, when you wake me with my tea and newspaper!

Marco was waiting on the platform, and promptly whisked me off to our traditional post-trip bar date across from the Colosseum. Latte macchiato and tramezzini for me; cappuccino and pastry for him. And cigarettes, and gossip, and always, always laughter.

We spent the rest of the day doing absolutely nothing at his house. Dinner was at Luca and Alfio’s, and Carla was there as well – one of two women I know in Rome. We ate on their rooftop terrace, all summer foods – tepid frittata, chicken salad, prosciutto and melon, grapes, and a tiramisu made my Luca that accompanied a 15-minute, intense discussion of the proper use of marscapone cheese in the recipe.

And wine, and cigarettes, and gossip, and always, always laughter.

Sunday started slowly, with Marco repotting some plants and our making a plan to resurrect a vine that is dying outside his front door. Massimo the neighbor came in to use the washing machine on the terrace, chatting amiably as he dragged his laundry through the living room.

Marco left by 1PM with Andrea to do something or another, I didn’t pay attention. I kept the doors and windows open and it kept the place cool, with a constant, delicious breeze. I finished the book I started on the train, then washed my hair in the garden sink on the terrace, using ice cold water from the hose and my olive oil shampoo. Made my famous-among-me lists of all sorts of ideas, plans and other assorted ephemera.

Marco and Andrea returned; we were off to Luca and Alfio’s for another rooftop dinner. Cold pasta with sun-dried tomatoes and ricotta, seafood salad, ice cream with marinated cherries courtesy of Luca’s father in Verona.

Andrea brought some seriousness to the festivities; we discussed la Berlusca, Ratzi, Catholicism in general, and other grown-up topics – unusual for this crowd. But as I expected, eventually we got around to everyone trying on a scarf (including Tomas, the cat), Luca and Alfio hilariously imitating a Polish woman they had recently met, and all of us running around the roof and craning our necks trying to find Orion in the starry sky.

This morning I will work on a most annoying project for a well-paying client, and then head out to the Internet point to send off the work. It will be such a rush to venture out from this tranquil spot; we’re in Rome, to be sure, but all I can see is the aqueduct this house is built into, and the neighbor’s olive trees and garden across the street; all I can hear are birds and the old lady upstairs readying her pasta pot for lunch.

 View from Marco's

I’m home.



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