Here’s a post from my old blog dated October 20, 2006 a few months after I moved to Rome. Walking to work in the morning still remains one of the highlights of my day.
Michael was teasing me on the phone last night that because I am giving nicknames to the cats on my block and taking photos of them, that I am indeed a crazy cat lady in training. I disagree though.
The thing is, I have a 15 minute walk to work. I basically take the same route each time as it’s almost completely a straight line up a road called Via Carini. On my way I see the same people, cats, businesses, etc and they have become a part of my day. I suppose in many ways this is what life in America used to be like before many people (but not all, particularly in small towns) drove everywhere, became more alienated, and it became more and more common not to know your neighbors. I feel like my walks to and from work almost have a comforting, ritualistic feel.
So instead of driving by the Hooters and strip malls on Route 4 in New Jersey and not paying much attention to the others around me on my way to work, I now have in order of appearance:
Orange and White Cat and his pal Devil Cat in the courtyard (and a few others), Friendly Newspaper Guy, Southern Italian Vegetable Vendor, Friendly Plant Seller, Meaty Cat and her Butcher Shop, Pakistani or Indian Bag Person at my Supermarket that always waves, Gypsy Woman with Baby and Paper Cup (only sometimes), Ave Maria Shrine, Crowd of Parents Bringing their Kids to School, Cafe Crowd Drinking Espressos and clogging up the Sidewalks, A Piazza full of Old People sitting on benches and checking each other out, the Taxi Guys hovering around the Pay Phone, Friendly Gasoline Pumpers (who will like me even more when I get a motorino), Group of Scooters where Drooley Cat often hangs out, A Church where Two Beggars have their Turf, A Man with Very Long Teeth that Seems to Know all the ShopKeepers, Friendly Pastry and Gelatto Ladies, Theodore who Owns ‘Gramolott” Restaurant and Makes Vegetarians a Custom Dish, Flirty Plant Seller who almost jumps out of his stand to say ‘caio’, Busy Bus Stop People, the Archi Bar where the AUR crowd gets their coffee, and Finally the Gate to my University where Friendly Security Guard opens the door for me.
I’ll be making my walk again in about another hour. I wasn’t going to go to the school today but I need to grab web files to start working on our Student Literary Journal that needs to finally be cleaned up and put online. I also am giving a midterm on Monday and need to get copies before our machine runs completely out of toner and the test gets postponed to the delight of my students.
Tonight I am meeting up with friends at the American Academy for an Art Poster exhibit and later I think we are going for Thai food. I am horribly behind in writing, emailing, and phoning people so will try to get my act together over the weekend.