Yesterday I was all proud of being alla moda (in fashion) and wearing white pants. By the end of the day, after the sun came out and everything heated up, I was regretting that decision trying to drain drops of water from my water bottle as I once again felt like I was being groped (when in fact it was just someone's bag) on the packed metro.
Before yesterday there hadn't really been a day where I felt hot and bothered. It could be that sto sempre tranquillo (I am always relaxed) and it could be that it hasn't been that hot. The family has marvelled at my claims of not being hot and always happy with the weather. I even ironed some of my clothes the other night (granted I took the breeziest spot in the house). Truly, I was not hot.
But yesterday, oh lord. It could also be that I was tired and, by consequence, frustrated and angry. But I think long sleeves and long pants were the culprit for my general state of unhappiness. I've come to realize that pretty much all the long pants that I have brought to Italy are useless except for the flight home. The material in those pants is simply to heavy for a climate that is constantly hot and where it seems never to rain (my boston umbrella has been aging in the boredom of uselessness). So today I am in shorts and a short-sleeved shirt, wishing for the same heat, because if it is cold today, I am not having very good luck. I even picked up a local paper today in the hopes that I would find a weather forecast, but alas, the Italians only live in the present and I can only know what today will be like.
Last night was the first night that I was interrupted in the middle of the night. Interrupted by my sweating body. It would have been really nice to sleep on an ice cube. Here you sleep with a bottle of water by the bed and all the windows and doors open. That way whatever breeze may exist comes in and makes things bearable (although, i haven't found things too unbearable to date thanks to my nalgene, which a lot of people stare at, and gelato, which I haven't indulged in too much). Normally, the last week of June, so claims the family, is the hottest in the summer. And I always ask.. e poi? (and then?) and the answer always is: it's hot for the rest of the summer. I find it funny that they focus so much on this one week when the entire summer is insane, but perhaps I've spoken too soon.
So I find myself at work again, and as Boris and Natasha (I've been scanning all the B movies in the world it seems) are scanning, I am going to get a cappuccino (and give caffeine another shot). Ugh, caffeine... I'll try caffe collatte next week. Perhaps me and coffee were never meant to be. I'm not a very good Italian (well, yea I'm Canadian) because I don't smoke, I don't drink coffee and my skin isn't tanned enough. I also like to work, not very Italian. They come in check their email for half an hour (okay granted, I check mine all morning long, but my job is plate (boring in french) go out for coffee, yell ciao to each other, yell pronto on the phone and work in between. At least they're content.
Me at my job right now, pretty far from content. But, as always I am trying to see the good in it. I've been reading other people's blogs and work for them sounds fun and exciting (or in Allen's case, thoroughly complicated but he's enthralled so it's great), for me I can't really say the same. So far (and for the next week and a half) I will be in the digital archive in the morning, scanning slides from old english movies (all of which start with the letter B) for the digitization, and in the afternoon I am in the analogic (read: normal) archive sorting through slides to get rid of, to send back to firms we no longer represent (yea I used the we as if I felt like I belonged, which I kind of do), and to give back to the photographer. In theory, this is tremendously exciting: I am at the forefront of the digitization process, the evolution into a high speed digital 21st century. Wow, right? High speed, eh? Let me tell you, the process is slow, extremely slow. Pick the slides, scan the slides, identify the slides.... each batch of 5 takes perhaps 10 minutes. And in the afternoon, I am going through every single folder (Abacus, Aquiloni, Babysitter, Balletti, Balli... alphabetical order) and looking at every single sheet of slides looking for slides from 5 companies we no longer represent. AIE. So today, armed with my iPod (grazie a dio [thanks be to god, to borrow from Anna's arabic phrase] for music), I will try to tackle the archive. I've been leaving work early (I am supposed to work until 6) because truly, I don't believe in anything but 9 to 5. And, in addition, I can't support the torture of me myself and I in the archive. I've been thinking about the future, about the joband the people in the office etc.
But wait, everything may not be illuminated but there is light within this experience. I am learning that, in life, I do not, at any cost, want to be at a job where I do nothing all day (like the poor woman who sits behind a desk all day in the photo gallery here) and I also do not want to do mindless tasks where I feel like my brain is rotting (as I do now) but I would rather be creating, thinking, doing. If I had a project here, a higher sense of purpose, I'd be happier. I couldn't have been more thrilled when another intern came to me for help with her English translation of meeting minutes. I like helping people. I always have. I need to be visual, but actively so, not like I am now. Being here, in Milan and at Grazia Neri, have also made me realize that I need to be surrounded by a certain aesthetic environment to be stimulated and satisfied, a busy everchanging environment, that helps others, that serves a worthwhile purpose. And making that realization, if only to give me a better sense of direction, is well worth the torture of the archives and the digitization process.