If not now, when?

One American woman. Twenty acres and a 1650 farmhouse in Tuscany. Random introspection and hilarity, depending on the day.

08 September 2006

Lessons

Maybe Unassuming Princess was right, that BiteWeek 2006 was supposed to teach me something.

It did, actually. A lot of things.

It taught me that people can surprise you. Turns out the slightly smarmy, slick-backed hair pharmacist at the top of the hill in town is actually incredibly kind, gentle, and patient. And more like a walk-in doctor's office. (CVS/Walgreens/RiteAid - eat your hearts out!) When I would take (yet another!) prescription in, he came out from behind the counter, "tsk-tsked" at how sloppy the guy at the emergency room had wrapped up my arm. So he re-cleaned, re-cortisone creamed, re-gauzed and re-netted my arm, THREE SEPARATE TIMES. And then wouldn't let me pay for the supplies that he had used; just filled my prescription. Full service, indeed!

It taught (okay, reminded!) me that Italians are brutally honest. When I stopped into the corner cafe, feverish and red and swollen, fresh from the emergency room, beautiful Federico the barman said to me, "what happened?" And when I explained, he said, "I thought so. You look horrible." And it made me laugh. Honesty is a good thing.

It taught me that sometimes by doing what we think is the right thing, we inadvertently hurt those who love us. My friends here are amazingly kind, giving people who were hurt I didn't call on them sooner (damn that independent, self-reliant streak); I should let people help.

It taught me that I've come a long way, baby. Last Saturday, (because they didn't want me to be home alone after my night at the emergency room,) I was invited for a family lunch nearby. By coincidence, it was the same family I had lunch with on the THIRD day living here, more than a year ago. And this time around, I understood it all. And felt really, truly a PART of it, not a voyeur. I don't know exactly what the definition of "making it" is, but that feeling should be bottled.

And sometimes, even when you're "making it," and damn proud of yourself for it, home seems really far away. They say "home is where the heart is". I've always said home is where my stuff is. Both are kind of true. Home is where you can feel, and behave, like your true self, and people love you anyway.

And, yes, as I sat alone in that emergency room, I knew with complete clarity who I really wanted to be there, squeezing my hand to reassure me when I felt panicky and not sure I could breathe. (And, for that matter, who I was quite relieved wasn't there.) Friends *are* the families we choose for ourselves. Panic begets absolute clarity of thought for some people, I am among them. All the stupid crap melts away. It becomes laughingly obvious - when you are threatened - how unimportant some things are, and how much others really do mean.

Today, I walk not just with a lighter arm, but with a clearer head.
I am reminded that the only guarantee I have is today.
Making different choices than I might have last week: not for the rest of my life, but to be happy RIGHT NOW.

Because life's too short: to drink cheap wine (as goes the cliche.)...to be dishonest (mostly with yourself)...to not tell someone you love them...to be unhappy... to flail against the current of the water.

God have mercy on the man who doubts what he's sure of*. Indeed.

And so tonight, I toss back the last handful of anti-everythings, washed down with a big ole' bourbon on the rocks. (Love you, The Mom: Screeh, Screeh.)
Lessons, summarily swallowed.
Mmmmmmm. Feels like home.

It's nice to be back.



*(hat tip for the Springsteen lyrics: cupcake!)

8 Comments:

Blogger The Mom said...

Yea baby! Schech, schech, schech.
Love, only and always, love.
TM

3:21 AM  
Anonymous Laurie said...

I am glad that you are back in form!!! Hurray! Yes, it's so true about those people here we get preconceived notions about...like your pharmacist...reminds me of MY pharmacist, who I used to dread -- on one one of those chic shopping streets with too many thin people, you know...well this guy wears a wig AND make-up, and intimidated the heck out of me, until one day he recommended a suppliment for my m***eno***paus**** symptoms that has totally saved my life (seriously). Now he feels like a friend.....and even those thin thin thin ladies on Via Roma don't scare me quite so much anymore!

2:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A beautiful post. Through your writings I am reminded of what is important as well.

3:59 PM  
Anonymous Ublend said...

Oh honey, it is not only Italians that are brutally honest...who are you kidding...we would have all said, "OMG what VD did you catch?" SMILE!

BTW, just wear you Easter Hat and all the attention will go to that...have I not taught you anything!

10:24 PM  
Blogger Tina said...

oooooh darlin your posts always make me think and bring a little tear to my eye. :-)

12:08 AM  
Blogger Dr Satori said...

I'm starting to read your blog with great interest ~ L Murray
http://penny-press.blogspot.com/

9:01 AM  
Blogger Viaggiatore said...

All: thanks for the encouragement. It's fascinating to me to see how much my own writing style has changed over the last year and a half, and I think in part that's because of all of you ... you made it okay, safe, comfortable for me to open up a little - to go a little deeper than the basic blathering about the weather and the pasta. So, thanks. for being 'out there'. Stay tuned, the regularly scheduled adventures of Viaggiatore picking up again this week! -V.

1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so glad you are doing better! whewww... what a rough time you have had this last month. As this new fall season begins, I sense lots of new beginnings for us all.

Love you,
UP

7:47 PM  

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