Monday, February 08, 2010

A Reminiscence of 1977

[The Ghiberti Doors, Florence]

I lost my job, and ultimately my career, so I did what any strong-minded man would do - I ran away. Patty and I had planned to vacation in Portugal so I said, the hell with it, let's go anyway. We had a wonderful time in Portugal for a couple of weeks, then she flew home. I stayed in Lisbon and watched her plane leave. Not the best moment of my life.

I took a train to Florence but didn't realize that one had to buy a separate ticket for a seat. So I spent hours standing in the corridor, then sitting in the corridor, then lying. Amidst the dirt, cigarette butts, and one doesn't want to think what else. Get tired enough and one doesn't care.

Also in the corridor were a young English girl and a young Australian man who were not together. I was an elderly figure of thirty, so I took an avuncular interest in these tots of twenty-something. I pointed out truthfully, that a room in a pensione with three beds would be far cheaper than three rooms with one bed each. The English girl was very proud of how liberated and independent she thought she was and was not afraid to be in a room with the young Aussie and me, especially in view of my advanced age and chaperone-ish demeanor. The Aussie claimed to be liberated and egalitarian as well, but had merely read about it as something going on in the US and UK and had no clear idea what it was about.

What I omitted to tell my young acquaintances was that I was on my way to Jerusalem to meet my mother who happened to be there the same time I was in Portugal. So I left the next morning for Arezzo and the Adriatic ferry to Haifa, leaving the two green youths alone together in the room - quite a different proposition from being three in the room together. And could there be a more romantic city for young people to find themselves thrown together than Florence? My romantic prank.

My guess is that they live in a suburb of Melbourne, have three kids and by now five grandchildren and are expecting another any day.

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