WHAT I HAVE

When I know I’m leaving Italy for more than a week, as the date of my departure approaches I’m surprised to find myself thinking about everything I’m going to miss and that I can’t tuck into my suitcase. But then the thrill of going about waywardly without a precise destination takes over and what I have gets forgotten to make room for what I will have. This time – and I’ve never done it before – I’ve decided to confess shamelessly all the things I’ll have go forgo and that I know I’m going to miss.
I’ll miss my daily squash game at the Circolo Lanciani with its endless afternoons that always seem too short and the liturgies accompanying them, like lunch on Saturdays, dinners “of just us” and with the most varied excuses or simply no legitimate reason at all except the joy of spending time together.
 But what is squash? It’s simply a game in which the two players, sweatier with every step, chase a little ball around a big room. Described this way, it might seem simple and ordinary … but try it!! In any case, while squash has a reputation of being played by “tough guys”, only a few of them manage to survive the “locker room”, a seemingly innocuous but insidious place with walls that seasonally change colours, which are as improbable as the shades of the leaves in the forest of the Wizard of Oz. In this environment, the motto is to talk about everything, and taking nothing seriously is a dogma: politics, soccer, cinema, lots of stories, lots of legends of life being lived and “quixotic” experiences that are shamelessly recounted and become the target of the collective sarcasm they deserve.
Little room is left for the post-match period (with due exceptions) and instead of “how the game was won” or “why it was lost” we prefer the erudite commentaries of a soccer game and the irreverent ecumenical sneer at politics and its leading figures.
The faction of “Rome team fans” is – unfortunately – as numerous as it is technically prepared, followed by the “guild” of accountants who shelter themselves from any outside influence through their murmured “crypto-language”. And the rest? Retired people (just a few, but they are the undisputed narrators of the “I remember when …”), lawyers, doctors, professionals, managers, office workers, hunters, students, soldiers and young people: all of them plunge right in on any subject, united by the irreverent ability to laugh. At what??? Everything, of course!
Many times I’ve asked those who, in the past, had experienced miraculous events, mainly people from the restaurant business and the medical field but also in others that are still discussed today, to turn me into a fly so I could go into the women’s locker room and listen undisturbed. I’m still waiting for an answer and, to be honest, one suggested turning me into a dog instead of a fly, but since this would be his first time, I hope he won’t be offended when I say that I don’t trust him … I wouldn’t want to end up being “Charlie for life”. And so? All that’s left for me to do is follow the advice of my friend George: “Use your imagination!!
I’ll miss chestnut cake, grilled T-bone steak, the chocolate and pistachio ice cream from the Tullio restaurant surrounded by friends, and other incomparable and delicious things, where we go weekly with the excuse of then going to the movies. I’ll miss “my Umbria” and “my Umbrians”, I’ll miss many things, so many things. In short … everything I have.
Farewell to all.

 

 

 

 

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