Monday, July 03, 2006

Saint Rocco Incarnate

My weekend reads as strangely as the dream I had last night which was about preparing a presentation about my Polish identity through teddy bears (an american invention... but whatever). This morning also feels like a dream, my morning becoming routine but punctured with strange occurences: the temperamental hot ater while in the sitting-down shower, the same song that plays on the radio, other english songs that speak to me with their lyrics (There's a light at each end of the tunnel and you're just as far in as you'll ever be out), and doors on the metro that just kept opening and shutting. So much of my life here feels like a dream, my noticing of details from an intense reproaching glance of an old woman towards a black man on the metro to the spinning of a leaf downwards and upwards, a vivid spiral. The feeling is heightened by the language barrier, I am able to wrap myslf in english and just think, completely unfettered. All these people in my life feel strange, the routine I've adopted almost instant and almost four weeks old, all I've got of my life back home are my mother's voice on the telephone and emails of newfound love flashing bright on the screen. And my heart slowly nurses with the words from my twin of another mother and music pressed close to my ears.

But I digress much more than I should. It all started on Friday with another week of work done (a good one at that) and a visit to the Museo Poldi Pezzoli. This was no conventional museum but a palace re-outfitted to showcase all its cultural jewels: paintings, china, statues, and magnificently frescoed and marbled rooms. The instant we walked in, we were greeted by a fountain full of goldfish, fed by a leafy old man sculpted in marble. That night Carly and I sat at a bar, getting bitten by mosquitoes once again, and witnessing as the hot nightspot remained empty for most of the evening.

It all continued on Saturday when sales hit Milan and I decided I needed to find linen pants. The search was hot long and difficult. Everyone seemed to be shopping, the lines to try on clothes were not healthy and the buzzing energy was everywhere (except for the steps of the closed post office where Carly and I took a much needed break). After sending Carly away from the madness, I went at it alone, determined to find these damned pants. it truly is amazing that, when focused, the rest of the world falls away and all you see are linen pants. Any pair I tried on were either too tight or just right with pant legs flowing down past my feet. I am obviously not built like an Italian, or else I would be 4 inches taller and perfect for all their pants. Luckily I did find my pants and headed home successful but exhausted and fed up. That night, of all things paradoxical, we went bowling. Besides the Italian-style pizza being sold at the counter, it was exactly the same decor as the bowling alley at home with its bowling-pin populated space landscape.

Sunday morning started with the crisply and skillfully-played tunes of a trombone player in the courtyard at 10.30 am. At first I cursed him like Niki, but then was shaken awake by the skill of the musician. Other people came to their windows and watched this Sunday morning musician play, having been let into the courtyard by someone, sometime earlier... Being up, I decided to iron at the amusement of everyone in the house (somehow it is a constant source of amusement that I like ironing). We headed to Melgnano to hang out by the pool for the rest of the day. I firmly vowed I would get a tan and blend in more with the Italians as did Carly. We seem to be closer twins than we think: matching white bathing suits with flowers on them. After getting a mosquito bite within 5 minutes of laying on my towel, I later felt a sting and shooed away, to my surprise, a bumblebee. Instinctually I removed the sting and watched as it flared up over the next few minutes. Never having been stung before, I didn't know whether I was allergic. Yet, being able to breathe and walk, I walked over to the bar with Mati and Niki to get some ammonia and ice and later to the bagnino (lifeguard) to get some after-bee sting spray.

I found it incredibly funny. Not only was I getting stung by every insect possible (sono sfigato, come dice Dorota), I had been stung by the bee at my upper upper thigh. Think crotch area. Walking back with ice on my bite, it seemed like I was hlding myself all the way. Last weekend Carly and I had seen a painting at the Pinacoteca di Brera with a saint named Saint Rocco who was dressed in doublet and leggings quite normally except for the fact that one of his leggings lay expressly fallen revealing his upper upper thigh. Scandalous, thought Carly and I. Upon looking him up, we found out that on his upper thigh there was the mark of the plague and he was a survivor. Somehow in his post-disease, he had become proud of his survival and uninhibited in showing it off. I too became the same way, checking on the sting in the questionable area, being called Saint Rocco incarnate by Carly. After my swim the swelling went down completely and I was quite content, bites and all, with the day in the sun (even though I missed seeing my dear Sarah who happened to be in Milan).

That feeling of contentment is always strongest for me after swimming focused laps (beating that first killer 8) or doing yoga and then laying calmly in the sun and doing my true sun salutations. If I could lead that life everyday in the summer I would, there's no better feeling than just feeding your body and letting yourself just relax and drift away from it all.


Allen said...

Did you get your tan? :-)

Stefan said...

a bit more colour, not quite yet Italian

jim said...

and what color linen pants did u get?? :)