Monday, August 22, 2011


I will be heading back to the States soon to start another academic year. How do I know this? I have two pillboxes that I fill at the same time, which in this timeless place, is a reminder of what day of the week it is. Having just found one of these conveniently labeled pillboxes empty, I know that today is Monday, and that on Saturday I will be heading back to one of my other countries. So the Countdown to that transition has begun. On the theme of time flying, my college roommate and friend for almost 5 decades just turned 65, which must mean that I am not the spring chicken I like to think I am.
Even the letters are wearing out on this poor old pillbox. Fortunately they are raised, so that even after my eyes go, I will be able to tell what day it is. My original Mephisto sandals that have been worn day in and day out in every season, however, look even worse. But they are tough customers, having been rebuilt several times and survived having the main strap eaten by my dog. When I brought them in to be fixed, the shoemaker just shook his head. But I said "I don't care what it looks like. Just figure out a way that I can attach it to my foot. The rubber band I have been using is cutting off my circulation."  

Talk of retirement is in the air. A propos of being old, J says he will close his office in May. Not sure about my own timetable for taking down my Yale shingle. I still love what I do, and our health benefits are tied to my job. On the other hand, I would love to experience the fall harvest season here, which does not jibe well with the school calendar. We'll see. Too bad we only get one lifetime. Here in Italy, I still feel like a newborn with everything yet to learn.

I asked L if she thought it would have worked for her older brother to marry his former Danish girlfriend, who has remained a forever friend of the family. I find it interesting to imagine how a decision like that would have affected everyone. There are so many possible different ways a life could go. That's part of the appeal of Italy for me--a chance to maybe squeak out another one, before it's too late. Another selling point: They seem to like old people here—they are nice to them and integrate them into the family.

As I told L, "I'm so pleased that you like my blog, and am always grateful to have new readers. Maybe my pseudonym and lack of photos of myself are unnecessary;however, while connected to a famous university, I feel a little self-conscious about what I can say and show--especially since I've been including more personal stuff, lately. If I told current and former students about it, however, I could probably expand my readership easily. Maybe I need to rethink the whole anonymity thing." 

Part of my blog plan was to do a flashback to the events of the previous two summers. But there is always so much happening here on a daily basis that catches my eye and that seems blogworthy that I can't even keep up with all that. There are only a few days left--we return this Saturday, 8/27 (during which we will have guests, to boot), and I haven't even gotten to what could be a gross but funny posting about the pitfalls of Italian toilets for unsuspecting Americans.

On the topic of Unmentionables, David Lodge's "Deaf Sentence" was a great read--especially for me with my increasingly challenged hearing. The other day N said about his dog Ike's digestive issues,"Ike is making fart bombs galore, but nothing is coming out." I heard, "I can make fart bombs galore, but nothing is coming out." All I could answer was, "why are you telling me this?"

In the context of saying nice things about my blog, my 1964-68 roommate, L, wrote: "I was mentioning it to a Francophile friend, who said there is a French expression or at least 2 different words for "country"; one your country of citizenship and the other the country of your heart.  It made me think about your blog.  Of course you have 3 countries!!" 

Regardless of how many countries one has, L is the kind of friend that comes along just once in a lifetime.

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