Public Bathroom Squats and Chicken Cookies!

Posted on March 18, 2011

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Dear Skinny Italian Legs,

I don’t get it. How are all these ladies legs so damn skinny!? I know that they walk a lot and don’t eat any bad food and all smoke but what else can contribute to their tiny legs?? I think I figured out this mystery. Squats. It must be the leg squats that they endure daily. When, you may ask? Umm…in every public bathroom! This is the truth my friends! There are no such thing as toilet seats nor paper toilet covers for the imaginary seat. You literally have to hover in a “chair” position while you use the toilet at all times. Serious leg work out if and when you have three drinks in a course of the night and have to pee after every one of them! AND this is done most of the time in super tall designer heels, so the angle is even more intense! This is just one answer to the wonders of the skinny legged Italian woman, I am positive that I will have more clues over the time spent here. Unfortunately, I probably won’t come home with those kind of skinny legs, no matter how much I have to pee! I will never wear a size 25 and I don’t even want to. Goes to show how wasteful and unfit we Americans are. We not only waste paper while sitting on our asses (literally) I would say that Americans are the most wasteful population in the world. Save paper. Try squatting!

So I was on the bus heading to have a St. Patrick’s dinner and drink with mia amica Texa and I was extra nervous since I did not have a bus ticket with me. I always make sure that I have at least two but since everything was closed for the celebration I forgot to get some. Some buses you can buy right when you board at the automatic machine for only 1 euro. I ONLY had a 2 euro coin. Just my stupid luck. I even asked (in Italian) TWO separate strangers to trade me for two coins and they did not have the right change for me. I got on the bus anyway and told myself that if I saw a “ticket checker” I would just have to get off before they checked us for validated tickets. The fine is 50 euro on the spot or 104 euro if you pay later. Of course the bus that I choose did not have the dispenser to buy tickets on the spot (if I had the right coins damnit!) I got closer to my destination while sitting shot-gun on the bus when I actually noticed that there WAS a ticket check RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME! His back was turned and he was chatting with the driver. My heart leaped through my chest and I prayed that he was not going to check tickets just yet! The next stop I jumped out so fast I almost tripped on the steps. I was only a few blocks from where I needed to be but all the stress of this too close encounter with a fine made me want a cigarette to calm down. I went into the tobacchi shop and was going to buy a 10 pack (half/mezzo) of Marlboro Lights but this might have been one of the only shops open today since they were empty on their cigarette selection. I will never buy a full pack since I only get them once in while. I stared at the packs and couldn’t make a decision. I almost just walked out but changed my mind when I saw a half pack of Lucky Strikes. This was the only half pack available and in the spirit of St. Patrick’s day I bought the Luckies and felt that was my last and only “strike” on the bus and would NOT let that happen again. I waited for another bus to get me to my meeting place with Texa. I boarded another bus without a ticket and hoped again for the best. If I saw one I would just have to walk in the rain all the way to meet her. At least I had my umbrella and some cigarettes. But, of course, no accendino (lighter)… I don’t make a very successful smoker. I make it to my stop free and clear. The entire day I had been thinking about what Irish pubs to go to and once I got to our meeting place I realized that the good Nutella crepes place IS an Irish pub! We are both starving and thirsty by the time we find one another and agree to just go to the Flann O’Brien Irish Pub. Starved, we wait for about twenty-minutes to be seated and bitch to one another how hungry that we are. She wants a burger I want anything but pizza and pasta. We place our drink order and food order at once. One coke, one Ballantine whiskey, one small Guinness and one bottle of Budweiser. Oh, and a burger and BBQ chicken salad for me. Two drinks each we were finally happy and taking funny photos at our table. The food arrived and she excused herself to phone il suo fidanzato (her boyfriend) to wish him a happy birthday! I got her the mustard that she requested and scrutinized my strange salad. Romaine lettuce, halved pomodorino and medallions of chicken placed strategically in a pattern. I have never seen chicken this way and all I kept thinking was that it looked like it was sliced off a tube of chicken! What the hell is right!? You know when you buy ready-made cookie-dough and you cut it into medallions and lay them out to bake? That is what this reminded me off. Chicken cookies. EWW. I cut the chicken pieces in half and mixed everything all together. The dressing made up for the presentation of this 12 euro salad. It was like spicy BBQ with hot oil. Strange but it worked, plus I was starving and didn’t care after I downed my mini half pint of draft Guinness. I enjoyed my whiskey for “dessert” and laughed with Texa about what a serious dork I am for not realizing that I have actually had il mio ragazzo for about 2 months and I just started to refer to him as that maybe two days ago. I am slow and don’t know how to react to something so official. In so many words.

It begins to rain pretty hard and we both don’t know what to do next. We make a few calls and text and no one responds so I walk her to her bus stop and we say good-night. I walk back to my bus stop and think about stopping into mio ragazzo lavoro (my boyfriend’s work) since I am pretty much on his street but change my mind  and just get on my bus soon as I see it. (Ticketless once again! Ooops!) Ten minutes into my ride home he phones me and tells me that he must get his car and move it, then go back to work, and then close the restaurant. Our schedules do not make sense. I tell him that if he still wants to go out he will have to come and pick me up when he is all finished. He agrees and tells me that he will call me in one hour. Its 11:30 by now and I try to think of something to do for an hour at home while everyone is asleep. Nothing comes to mind and I didn’t feel like waiting for my computer to warm up so I undress out of my wet clothes, boots and shirt and get in my bed to read. I actually fall asleep with the light on and wake up five minutes to 1am! Mu drinking tolerance has depleted! Nothing from him yet. I begin a text message to tell him if it is too late that I understand and then my phone rings loudly in my hands. He tells me that he is on his way and he will be here in twenty-minutes. Why is everything like L.A.?? Like the movie Clueless, “Everywhere in L.A. takes twenty minutes!” Everything in Rome takes twenty-minutes. To get seated, to get food, to get drinks, to drive, to wait for the bus, to make pasta and the sauce, to get the children to wash their hands, change their pants and shoes. All 20 minutes. Va bene. OK.

At 4:30am he gets a call from his “son” Mario and he is drunk and needs to be picked up. Luckily, (St. Patrick’s Day kind of luck) we are down the street from where he is. We also decide that I should get taken home too since traffic is so mad during the morning hours. I am fine with this and can’t wait to crawl into my dungeon dark room and sleep until noon. I wonder if my head will be mad at me tomorrow afternoon for having beer, whiskey and then chianti…

I wake up with only a minor head pain but it goes away soon as I have some cereal and tea. Dehydration is my second thought. The quiet house is also a fantastic perk on a Friday. I watch some TV in both English and Italian and after I cleaned the kitchen. The dishwasher is broken so everything is by hand. I realize that I must be out the house in less than an hour to get the kids! I take a fast shower and wash my 3-day-dirty hair and skip lotion to hurry up. I don’t want my hair wet this time when I leave so I make sure that it is 89% dry and head out with only my keys in my pocket. It is a really nice day today and I am disappointed that I wasted it indoors. The sun graced us with her presence and there was no wind or clouds. This kind of day is designated for the park. If it is nice tomorrow I will try to get out in the sun.  T and I plan to go to the grocery store tomorrow morning so I have a real reason to get up before noon. The boys and I spent the rest of the afternoon playing and laughing until T came home from work. I then helped Tommaso with his English homework for about twenty-minutes (no joke) while Matteo pouted in the living room. We were having a really good time laughing in his room before T called for me to come and help Tommaso so Matteo did not like giving me up to his brother. Matteo and I were laughing so much that his little head was sweating and his hair was instantly a mess! We were sort of playing indoor baseball with his stuffed animals and when he turned his back on me I slipped under the bed as fast as I could to hide from him. I realized that this was the perfect opportunity to either scare the shit out of him or make him die laughing. The boys’ beds are pushed up next to each other in the corner of their room and the larger one (Tommaso’s) moves easily so that both beds can be made each day. Soon as I was out of sight from him I hid under the bed until I could feel where Matteo was and moved the beds slightly apart and stuck my hand up and grabbed him! He screamed but laughed so this turned into a game. And a workout for me! I was the monster under the bed and would take the stuffed animals down to the pits of despair and make him laugh so hard I hoped that he wasn’t going to pee his pants! He finally came down to pull me out from under the bed and I pretended that he was super strong and made him feel like he was actually pulling me with all his little might!

My stomach still kind of hurts from all the laughing…

Nancie

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Posted in: When in Rome