Act 2, Scene 12
Lake Trasimeno

Ancient Rome, The Italian Renaissance, And Postmodern Love

by Frederick Noble

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Let’s get away from Cortona for a bit, shall we?

Italian sunflowers

If you take the train to Tuoro with the intent of visiting Italy's largest lake, Lake Trasimeno, make sure to head for the door as soon as the train begins to slow. It only stops for a moment, just long enough for you to read the sign and confirm you're where you think you are, before pulling away, forcing the hesitant or sleepy to be dragged to the next stop while the people at the Tuoro station wave at you through the glass. Once the train starts moving again the doors lock to prevent the brave from attempting to jump off anyway. At the next station you'll either have to wait for the next train headed the other way, or do like we did and walk back. If you choose the walk, take the dirt road. It's almost scenic enough to stop you cursing yourself the whole way back.

There is an odd campground at Lake Trasimeno complete with a bar, two restaurants, and a disco that looks suspiciously like an old, empty swimming pool. There's a park by the lake that has some interesting modern sculpture and a beach where occasionally topless women will sun themselves (and on rare occasions be worth ogling.) The lake is surrounded by massive agriculture so I assumed it gets the associated pesticidal runoff. Rumor has it the water is extremely polluted. The lack of swimmers and boaters seemed to confirm this. Despite the marvelous Saturday afternoon in the middle of summer, the place was practically empty. A lake of that size in the states would have been covered in drunken boaters.
For 6500 lire you can ride the ferry out to Isola Maggiore, "Largest Island," an up-and-coming tourist trap. There is a nice path around the little island and the view is nice but no better than the view from the shore-side park and there’s nothing on the island but a few overpriced trinket shops and snack bars and the scattered, overgrown remains of some ruin with no explanation as to what it is.
We got back to the local train station and found we had an hour to kill before the next train. Neither one of us was motivated to walk any more so we sat at the utterly deserted station and just stared out at the view. When I say deserted I mean deserted. Many of the train stations in Italia don't have any ticket counters, only ticket machines (and instructions only in Italiano), others only have ticket counters open certain hours during certain seasons. This station was completely empty. So I wasn’t the least bit hesitant to rub my fingers up Heather’s thigh. The conversation changed from verbal to physical. In the near-silence of a Tuscan summer afternoon the only sounds were her sighs. Heather looked around for a moment then wondered aloud if there were someplace we could play without being accidentally discovered. I got up and scouted around the station. Just off the platform was a waiting room with a massive wooden table, occupied only by empty chairs and a layer of dust. I turned to tell Heather about it, only to her only to find her walking past me into the room. The Delta blanket became a dust-rag.

The room had no door and was wall-to-wall windows but Heather was always brave and I was feeling bold. How could I resist? Even if I’d wanted to resist Heather was pulling me down onto the table and onto her. The room was hot and stuffy. I worried that someone might be watching, or stumble across us, but Heather’s moans echoing off the tile drowned out those thoughts in moments. Soon her dress was around her hips, my head between her legs. Soon after that her moans reached their peak. I stood up, smiling ear to ear and ready to screw her silly right there on the table, or at least get her to return the oral favor. But, in slow motion just like out of some teen sex comedy, I turned to glance out the window to see two bicyclists pedaling up to the station.
“Perfect timing,” I said.
They hadn’t spotted us but they were obviously headed for the platform.
Heather sat up and saw them. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s ok, you can return the favor another time.”
She asked again if I was ok but it really didn’t bother me. Making her feel good made me feel good.
We went back to the bench on the platform while the bikers, unaware of what they'd just missed, joined us in waiting for the train.

Sit on my face, and tell me that you love me.
I'll sit on your face and tell you I love you, too.
I love to hear you moralize,
When I'm between your thighs;
You blow me away!
Sit on my face and let my lips embrace you.
I'll sit on your face and let my love be truly.
Life can be fine if we both sixty-nine,
And we'll sit on our faces in all sorts of places and play,
'Till we're blown away!
Sit on my Face, by Monty Python, of course

One of Heather's roommates was the second ankle injury in the program. I skipped through the room singing "Boots, glorious boots..." while she lay helpless in bed. However, she did expose another Larry, "You must have health insurance for the trip. You'll have to pay for any hospitalization and get reimbursed when you return."
All medical stuff is free for tourists at any local hospital. I could have used the couple hundred bucks on food and fun. It only made me more irritated with Larry.

We spotted a forest fire on the neighboring hill one afternoon and I found it fascinating to watch the helicopter fly over the land of Leonardo in an attempt to put down the blaze. I pictured him smiling that such a thing existed, no too distant from designs of his own. I watched this from my bike, another creation not too distant from designs of Leonardo. He only lacked the proper materials.

George Bent On Making This Trip Miserable walked past me today. "Missed you, Fred."
I was momentarily confused before realizing he was pointing out he'd noticed my absence on the last field trip.
"So what did you do this weekend?" he asked with a snide tone of voice.
I told him the abridged version of the trip to the lake.
"You realize these field trips are a requirement for the class?" he asked.
"Yes," I replied, trying to remain civil.
"So you're willing to be on my shit list for a while?"
I couldn't keep my mouth shut anymore, "Your class already takes up too much of my time and I'm not willing to sacrifice my happiness on this trip for your grade."
He was momentarily taken aback.
"OK," he said, sternly, and walked off.
I heard that on that particular trip he had told students "Go, have fun, there's nothing to see here anyway." Later he'd bitched out some people that hadn't seen whatever amazing/important church/work of art/ruin there was to see. I’m oddly satisfied to hear I’m not the only one that thinks he’s an ass.
However, I will admit when I got back to the states I regretted skipping a trip to Assisi. Not long after, there was a massive earthquake and the Duomo, containing countless impressive/important works of art by Giotto and other fathers of the Renaissance, was very badly damaged. Years later I’m still cursing myself.
But coming home with only one regret I consider to be a remarkable success.

I was jolted awake at 3:30 AM this morning by a moving yet irritating version of "Georgia On My Mind." Ironically, though I had come from Georgia it was the last thing on my mind. The Doorman wasn’t usually up that late and it wasn't his staple spaghetti western so I listed further (I couldn't help but listen as he'd turned up the volume as loud as it would go.) I soon realized it was the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, an event I'd traveled thousands of miles to avoid. Yet here I was, in an old monastery in a tiny town in the backwaters of Italia, with The Games in Atlanta still preventing my sleep.
With world-wide communications, you can't really “get away from it all” anymore. It's all everywhere.
To make matters worse, someone found an English paper in town so I've heard all about the latest plane crash, overdosed rock star, current number of bomb threats per day at the Games, etc. Why the students want this kind of info I have no idea. I did my best to inform them of my desire to remain blissfully ignorant, but to no avail. They hunt me down and tell me about the latest tragedy back home in horrific detail even as I run screaming in the other direction.

Georgia, Georgia, the whole day through
Just an old sweet song keeps Georgia on my mind.
Georgia, Georgia, a song of you
Comes as sweet and clear as moonlight through the pines.
Other arms reach out to me
Other eyes smile tenderly
Still in peaceful dreams I see
The road leads back to you.
Georgia, Georgia, no peace I find
Just an old sweet song keeps Georgia on my mind.
Melodies bring memories
That linger in my heart
Make me think of Georgia
Why did we ever part?
Some sweet day when blossoms fall
And all the world's a song
I'll go back to Georgia
'Cause that's where I belong
Georgia on My Mind, by Stuart Gorrell and Hoagy Carmichael (if you're like me it's the Ray Charles version in your mind)

Speaking of home, I had a bizarre nightmare one night. I boarded the plane to Brussels where I was to meet Lena and continue on to Amsterdam, but when I arrived I was just too tired to get out of the seat so I let them take me on to Atlanta. I got back to the apartment and my roommate was mildly surprised to see me. His surprise made me realize I’d done something terribly wrong and I reached down to feel my pockets, still with enough funds inside to have made it to Amsterdam but not enough to turn around and get back, much less in time to catch Lena. "Fuck..."
I realized it was too bad to be real. It must be a dream! I looked around to see if it's a dream but the pile of bills sitting on my desk was too real. Dejected, I sat and looked through the bills one by one. Later in the day I headed to friend’s house to commiserate and by the time I actually woke up I had no idea where I was. I was indescribably relieved when I figured out I was still in the dorm in Cortona.

Heather and I peeked into the rumor mill again - nothing new brewing about us so we made some suggestions to help the stew along. I doubt we dropped hints to the right people but we're getting braver all the time. However, there was lots of gossip on others on our journey. My favorite is of a guy who's complaining about walking in and interrupting his roommate masturbating for the third time. Seems like you'd learn to lock the door after the first time.

Lena called a couple of times but I was never there to take the call. I couldn’t confirm when she was coming down and our letters kept crossing en route. As soon as I think I have it right another letter arrives telling me something different.

On our daily bike rides we got higher and higher up the mountain ridge. We opted to take the fork in the road where a sign pointed to a public pool and had opted for that route but it took us weeks to finally get close. We finally got to the entrance and decided the next day we’d return in our bathing suits.
The next afternoon, dressed for the occasion and packing towels, we pedaled up the mountain only to find the pool had closed for the season. We half laughed and half cursed in defeat and opted to take the other fork in the road from then on.

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