yesterday was my first blue day. we woke to pouring rain which we had kind of expected. apparently, it just rains on sundays. we were prepared with food, water and the al pacino, robert di niro video from last sunday that we never watched. what we were not prepared for were the ten thousand ants that had invaded our kitchen and living room. apparently, just like at home, italian ants don’t like the rain either. howard immediately donned rain gear and went out to try and buy “la sprezza” but apparently, even ant murdering is off limits on sunday in lucca. returning empty handed, my ever resourceful count did the net best thing, and for the next half hour proceeded to stomp to death every living ant in our apartment. i wish i had thought of taking a photo. it was really quite funny and at that moment, the highlight of my day.
after we mopped up the dead ant carcasses the doorbell rang. it was 11 a.m. and i was still in my nightgown with evidence of the mass murders we had just committed everywhere. i threw on a raincoat and answered the door. it was rafaelli, bennadetto, lucia (the housekeeper) and lucia’s husband, who apparently has no name. they had come to deliver the rest of the plants for the garden. nobody seemed to notice or care that i was just wearing a nightgown and a raincoat so hey, i just went along with it. after arranging the plants in the pouring rain, they decided that it would be a good time to hang a mirror in the bedroom. of course, i was mortified. being half naked in front of virtual strangers didn’t bother me, howard pointed out later, but not having made our bed by 11 a.m. on a sunday morning was totally humiliating. i can just hear my mother tut tutting now. after the hanging of the mirror, lucia’s husband thought it would be a good idea to silicone the leak in my bathroom and before we knew it it was lunchtime and i was still in my nightgown, it was still pouring rain, it was mother’s day and i missed my bambino’s. howard suggested lunch.
here is another thing i have learned about italy. when in doubt – eat. we got dressed, jeans,raincoats, and umbrellas and ventured out across our square to our favorite trattoria. i was depressed and even our favorite waiter renaldo’s smile did little to cheer me up. we sat outside under enormous umbrellas and watched the rain. in lucca, as in most italian cities, there are groups of ethiopian young men,run by the mafia it is said, who stand on street corners and sell knock offs of designer handbags, jewelry, and in the rain, umbrellas. they stand in each corner of the square and every ten minutes or so the police drive through and the men scatter and run. the police cars, though tiny, still are too large to make it down the narrow streets. the umbrella sellers know it as do the police and so everyone scatters and five minutes later they are back. it is amusing for about ten minutes. then i was blue again. until i met francesco.
a young couple sat down next to us. they were from turin. he was an economist, she was a biologist and they had a three year old, bi-lingual son named francesco who charmed his way into my heart. for the next hour we spoke with his parents and played games with francesco and even though the sun never came out, the day felt brighter. we went back to the apartment, killed some more ants ( it actually should be considered as an olympic sport – there is quite a bit of skill involved) watched our movie, read, napped and oops, time for dinner.
we have a new ritual ( anything we do twice is now considered a ritual) which is sunday dinner at osteria giorgio. we found this little restaurant and we love the food and atmosphere. last night we sat next to a charming couple from belgium. he was attorney who worked for the world court. she also worked there in human resources. we talked world politics all night and closed the restaurant. we got home to find messages from the children and lots of emails from friends and so my rainy, blue, ant filled day turned out to be not so bad after all.