Category abracadabra

A hole in your pocket! 0

We were in Piazza Risorgimento for lunch today. Nothing special. Francesca’s mom was hungry so we stopped at a place that makes salads. At a certain point a gypsy walked up to our table and asked for money. The waiter rushed over and said to the gypsy, “Don’t disturb the priest while he’s eating!”

The gypsy started to protest and the waiter repeated, “Leave the priest in peace!” continue reading »

6 people like this post.

Small token of amends 0

I moved to Italy in June 2003 with everything I owned inside a single suitcase and backpack. I returned to California in August 2016 with two suitcases, a carryon, a backpack, a wife, a cat, and forty boxes of books, DVDs, CDs, clothes, pillows, and other stuff that will arrive next month. (Most of those boxes are full of Francesca’s shoes.)

Despite transporting the excess of material objects I’ve acquired over the years, our cat Jimi made the biggest difference in changing continents. With Jimi crammed into a pet carrier the size of a shoebox, we worried that passengers seated in our vicinity would hang the American, his Italian wife, and their screaming black cat during the fourteen-hour journey. So at the suggestion of a friend, we prepared goodie bags with earplugs, candy, a refrigerator magnet with a photograph of Jimi, and this letter of apology: continue reading »

7 people like this post.

The rain, the wind, the humidity, and only in the elevator 0

Two weeks ago our next-door neighbor knocked on our door for the first time ever. Giorgia’s about 40 years old and, along with her 70-year-old mother, has lived in the apartment next to ours for the past four years.

It was 7:30pm, and I was surprised to see a neighbor at the door because no neighbor has ever knocked on our door, ever. The only words we’ve exchanged with anybody in our building have been while taking the elevator up or down.

Giorgia was anxious to talk to Francesca. She even put a foot inside our apartment and peeked around the door to see if Francesca was here.

“Francesca will be home in an hour,” I said. “If you want, I’ll send her over as soon as she gets back.”

Blushing and frowning, Giorgia shook her head. “No, no. I’ll come back in the morning.”

But Giorgia didn’t come back in the morning. Instead, she came back ten days later, which was last Wednesday. I glanced through the peephole, saw her and, being in my underwear, let Francesca respond. continue reading »

4 people like this post.

Clipping the pigeon’s claws 1

Francesca and I were nearing Piazza Cavour when we saw a homeless man marching in place with his back to a brick wall. He was waving his left hand spastically in front of his face, either suffering from a neurological disorder, under the influence of some brain-straining substance, or a combination of the two. A backpack was propped against the wall, and a cereal bowl with several coins inside was on the ground by his feet. We took a wide detour, worried his swinging hand might take a swipe at us as we passed. continue reading »

12 people like this post.

The biggest blooper of my life 0

Dear Bradshaw,

Katia works for Francesca and is also friends with friends of ours. I first met her and her husband at the birthday party of our mutual friends, and we’ve also spent a weekend together at our mutual friends’ wedding.

Last week I visited Francesca’s office for the first time. I hadn’t seen Katia since the wedding, and characteristically, I forgot her name. Names are my kryptonite. I forget them often. continue reading »

17 people like this post.

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