Actually, I’ve been home for over a week.
Jet lag’s a bitch.
Italy was lovely. That’s what I’ve been telling everybody…. Italy was lovely. Not that I had a fabulous time, or that it was great or wonderful or fantastic.
It was just lovely.
I think AGMA needs to stay home a while. I think I’m starting to get blasé about traveling. I’ll have to ponder that…
It could be that I traveled with a friend I’ve never traveled with before. CB’s a lovely, delightful person who’s been a friend for 30 years. She’s also much loved by scores and scores of people.
And for a very long time, AGMA wanted to be CB. I wanted to live her life. I envied her rock solid marriage, her family – 4 sons who cherish her and get along with each other, her career (one of those $150/hr consulting things) and her gracious hostessing skills.
But most of all, I envied her scores of friends and relatives who absolutely adore her. A-D-O-R-E. I mean, if she would meet an untimely end tomorrow, there would literally be 1000’s at her funeral, all wailing and weeping and gnashing their teeth. Me included.
So I pretty much thought CB was everything that I wanted to be. I always wanted lots of adoring friends, but it’s just never happened. And probably never will. AGMA’s a bit too crusty to be adored.
CB IS a lovely person and a good friend, but….
You never truly, really know somebody until you travel with them.
We are very different people. That became pretty obvious on our trip. There weren’t any major issues or confrontations, thank God. That would’ve been miserable. But we definitely have different “styles” and ways of approaching things.
AGMA’s not going to get into specifics. But while the feeling that I wanted to be her, to live her life, has faded over the years, I came home from our trip convinced that I did not want to be her, to live her life.
As imperfect as it is, AGMA kinda likes her own skin.
Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
So Italy was lovely.
We were in Rome for the first 5 days. Some of CB’s adoring fans are former business associates who live near Rome, so we had dinner with them (O & V) several evenings. It was awesome to have their translation skills and culinary advice.
One evening, O advised me to order the lamb entrails for dinner. She said it was a very typical Roman dish and was served for breakfast on Easter morning in many Roman households. “Hey”, I thought, “When in Rome…eat like a local. I like lamb. Why not?”
AGMA’s face was quite expressive when the server put my order on the table.
Nothing. Like. Lamb chops.
A heaping plate of brownish gray cooked lamb guts. I mean heaping. And I swear they were staring at me.
Watching my every move…
Golly, I can’t think of anything better to serve on Easter morning!
I made a brave effort to eat some of it, but thankfully there was plenty of other more than palatable food on the table that wasn’t staring at me. I think O was disappointed I didn’t chow down on it. She took the leftovers home to her dog who I’m sure did chow down on it.
But AGMA was somewhat subdued during our time in Rome.
I was running the Rome Marathon on our last full day in Roma and was worried about passing the medical exam that I needed to actually be able to run.
It’s a long story, but Italy has some weird medical requirements for people who want to run marathons. Marathons in the US will pretty much let anybody run. They really don’t care if you keel over with a stroke or heart attack. As long as you pay your entry fee and check the little box that you won’t hold anybody liable for anything, you’re good to go.
Evidently Italy doesn’t want you stroking out.
There was one test they required that would have been very expensive to get in the US, so I opted to get my exam in Rome two days before the marathon.
On March 31, I was whisked away from the Rome Marathon expo to parts unknown in a Smartcar by an Italian gentleman who didn’t speak English. CB anxiously waited for me at the expo, ready to call the police if I didn’t return.
This was going to be an adventure.
After a twenty minute drive, I met Guido, the Sports Medicine Man.
Guido was quite good looking. And much younger than me. And he asked me to take of my shirt.
Things were getting interesting…
AGMA felt like she was in a Fellini movie….“The Cougar and the Sports Medicine Man”
But alas, it was to attach the wires for the EKG to my chest. I wished I’d worn a nicer bra.
He also took my blood pressure. When I told him it might be a little high (I was nervous about failing the exam and not running in the marathon), he said in a husky whisper, “Maybe it’s because I am so close to you.”
Seriously. Sort of. He actually used a normal voice. The husky whisper part was in the dream that AGMA had later that night.
I passed my tests (but my BP was indeed high – probably multiple reasons…) and was able to run in the marathon on April 2nd.
And I finished! And didn’t stroke out. That’s always a good thing.
Just an FYI, it was not mandatory to run naked as the picture of the medal suggests. That’s also a good thing.
Total self acceptance, lamb guts, Guido and a clothed marathon finish in the shadow of the Coliseum….
Okay, so maybe AGMA’s trip to Italy really was fantastic.
Stay tuned for Ciao Bella Italy Part Due (pronounced doo-eh)!