Monday, June 23, 2008
Noto - I'm sitting on the doorstep of my B and B. Across the street, a woman in a white linen suit comes out of her house. "You are waiting for the Signora?" she says, referring to my landlady. "A taxi," I tell her. "Ah!" she says, and rubs her fingers and her thumb together. "They're criminals, you know.” "Aren’t all taxi drivers bastardi ?" I offer as she crosses the road to stand beside me. “I wouldn’t know, I just live here,” she says. “In Parigi they’re bastardi anyway,” I say, determined to pursue my point. "And do you like this town?" she says. "Very much," thinking of the last taxi driver in Paris who ripped me off. "Do you think it’s beautiful?" she goes on. “Very beautiful,” I say. “The cathedral. The pallazzos. Bellissimo” "Bravo,” she says, admiring my taste. But what else could I have said? Your town looks like Clapham in the fucking rain. It wouldn’t even be true. “But nothing happens,” she says. “Nothing?” “Nothing happens every day. All people do is mangiare. Pastries, ice-cream, mangia, mangia." "And what do you do?" I ask her. The woman laughs, and pretends to give me a slap. Her breath smells sweet and high. That’s the choice here. If you don’t eat, you drink. And by that kind of overcooked, confit look of her handsome face, that's what she's been doing for twenty years. It’s an equally valid lifestyle choice in cities where too much happens. Like Paris.