Here's today's lesson: do not overtip the kinda-hot waitress with the broken nose because when you come back she won't just pour you a Glenmorangie, she'll pour two. And you'll drink it so as not to embrarrass her. And if you're going to walk Florence by night, then drunk and desperately needing to pee, is not the best way to do it.
I know there's a place with fresh Nutella waffles out there. Somewhere. If only I keep staggering down the cobblestones and resist the desperate urge to wet myself.
Scusi, signorina, a Nutella waffle, per favore, and a new pair of slacks.
Found a rental house today and made an offer. It's one of the many cool things about Italy: everything is negotiable. I hear that you want X Euros. How about if I pay 6 months in advance? How about if I pay in cash? Or as one real estate agent suggested today, "How about-a an iPhone-a? I'm-a just-a kidding."
I'm safely back in the hotel, watching Dexter in English, but with Italian subtitles. Sono vivo, non le credere possibile. This is an easy language. Not the grammar but the spelling and sentence structure and pronunciation. Italian will be my bitch within 3 months of moving here. The French helps. Although French, like so much of American English, is down in the throat, while Italian all happens up by your teeth and the tip of your tongue. It's like the language isn't allowed down where the American 'r' lives, let alone le 'r' Francais.
French is lovely when spoken by women, and might as well be German when spoken by men, Italian is less sexist. Always sounds kinda cool.
You know what I did during dinner? I exchanged text messages with my son. I never thought I'd be that guy, the guy who would be somewhere fun, all alone with a broken-nosed waitress and thinking about his wife and kids.
When I was choosing a pseudonym for my new series, I went with Michael Grant. Yes, that Grant. I like Grant because he got what Lincoln had gotten earlier: that it would be a ruthless war of attrition. Grant was a genius of ruthlessness.
He was reputed to be a drunk, but he wasn't. He only drank heavily when kept away from his wife. Ruthless and hopelessly in love. He enjoyed a nice cigar or ten, caught the big C, was broke because even though his presidency was corrupt, he never was. He died, aged 63, writing his memoirs. Writing in terrible pain so that his family could be secure. The secular patron saint of writers. Better than the Catholic's nominee. What did he ever do?
If you set aside the fact that I have not commanded armies, or saved the Union, or been president, or, for that matter kept going while cancer was eating my face, I like to think I have a few things in common with my hero. I can see ends without regard to morality or cost. I'll write no matter what. And I drink too much when my family is far away.
I have become that guy.