Fortunately, this was an unusually uneventful day. It was as if the Sat Nam Rasayan had already started and was carrying me from Scotland to Italy; sort of like that poem “Footprints in the Sand.” (Just in case that might be misinterpreted, I’m not comparing SNR to Christ. I am a Christian, but don’t think they’re related...) How to explain that? It’s kind of like when you know tomorrow’s going to be stressful, you’re already stressed out, even though nothing stressful has happened yet. Or before you go to the masseuse you’re already relaxed just thinking about it? Well SNR is like that too, and it starts working on you days before you start working on it. Pretty cool, but not hocus-pocus. Just psychosomatic, I’m sure.
Anyway, like I said, not much activity happened this day. Mostly traveling and waiting. The beginning and end were probably the most adventurous parts. The middle was thinking and waiting.
Early morning: roll out of bed on barely any sleep. Go down to the little restaurant in the hotel. By now, I know most of the hotel staff pretty well, and the waiter has promised to come bang on my door if I’m not down by 9. It must be 7:30. He says I’m early. I sit down by myself at this little table and there’s one other person in the dining area. I order boiled eggs and kippers, a favorite of Jack’s (Wes’ dad), which is apparently a New England or Pennsylvanian thing. The waiter says, “boiled eggs AND kippers? Ok.”
I didn’t get what that was supposed to mean until he brought out my plate.
Not quite the boiled eggs and kippers I’d expected.
After that, I go across the street to catch a bus. So now the waiting and thinking starts.
Waiting for bus: oh God, what time is it? Am I going to be late? Where’s the darned 100 bus?
Waiting for plane to London: [drinking beer] too early, but I’m flying all day, what the hell
Waiting for plane to take-off to London: ooh, 200 mph winds in London, can you say turbulence?
On plane to London: sure am glad I barely slept last night! And: I read an article in the BA magazine about a girl who had tried baby lamb intestines that had the mother’s milk still inside, so it made this cheese inside of the meat. That sure made me feel better about the kippers, haggis, and black pudding!
Waiting for plane to land in London (going around in circles, waiting in cue): wow, barely any turbulence
Waiting for plane to take off for Rome: Gee, we’ve been in this plane for an hour now! When will it take off?! I could be playing those slot machines in the Heathrow Airport!
Waiting for train from airport to Rome: I remember randomly this time in Paris when I was 19 and on the metro and a lady was trying to get on at the last minute. She had a baby stroller, and the baby stroller got stuck between the doors and the train was threatening to take off with the carriage half in / half out. Two men pried the door open just in time and she jumped on.
Waiting for train from Rome to Assisi: Maybe Americans aren’t that stupid. I always have thought it was because of our culture and TV watching etc. etc. but maybe it’s just we don’t know all about all these other countries because we aren’t as close to them as they are to each other. (I know this isn’t a fantastic revelation, but it sure felt like one when I realized it.) Of course, I know all about Texas and California and Mississippi, but that’s because I go to all of them so often, and their rules are very familiar to me. Of course when a Frenchman goes to Italy he won’t look like as much of an idiot as an American, and it has nothing to do with how much of an idiot he actually is.
Waiting on the train from Rome to Assisi: I can’t wait to get there, and too bad it was dark already at 5:30 when I flew into Rome, because I bet it’s pretty outside!
More action, less thinking: When the train gets to Assisi, I keep asking this man, “Assisi?” and he’s like yes. And I get my bag and get to the door. And it’s closing!!! Just like the lady with the stroller except for me it’s just clothes, no baby, I’m risking losing. And I’m straddling the door, one leg out. Purse outside, luggage inside. Torso with door going down the middle! Stupid American! So I start yelling help. I can definitely get out, but definitely not with my luggage unless I drop my purse outside, which I definitely don’t want to do, just in case I’d have to take the train to the next town and come back (my purse would NOT be here when I got back). So a man comes to pry the door open (the door won’t open, but his train ain’t leaving until I get out or in). Another man comes to help, I jump out, grab my luggage, and the train takes off with me saying thank you thank you through the closing doors.
I get a cab. He doesn’t take credit cards. That’s all I’ve got. He agrees to let the hotel make change for me. We get up here, top of the hill, dark night, tons of lights down below. It sort of reminds me of Wes’ old roommates in Nashville’s apartment view. Guess what. The hotel refuses to make change.
Well, guess it’s good that I got those travelers’ checks after all. The hotel gives me change. The cab driver thanks me. I go to my room, and there’s a lady in there!!! In her nightgown! Can you imagine? I go back to the front desk, get another room, and that’s about it!