Act 2, Scene 3
Stick with me here, Ive got to describe what day-to-day living is like in Cortona for us so youll get a feel for the rhythm of life in the guts of the story.
Classes began two days after our arrival in Cortona. Painting looks like
it'll be OK, the teacher being as big a smartass as myself, but Art
History sounds like a royal pain in the neck. There is a field trip every
weekend for the first four weeks, followed by a test, then a paper and
a test a couple of weeks after that. And that's all in addition to our studio work for our
other classes and preparing for the student art exhibit. Id rather
be out exploring and learning in a less structured environment but I didnt
know any better when I signed up for the trip. I felt sorry for the suckers
whod opted for the full load of three classes. Ill have a
hard time keeping my attention on just two.
The laundry situation in the dorm was also something like summer camp.
There are 3 concrete sinks on the courtyard for hand-washing your clothes
and the first weekend the clotheslines were full. I had developed a habit
of washing a set of clothes along with my body each time I showered but I doubted the other
100 guys who share my bathroom would appreciate the extra time and water
required. A slacker like me would normally complain about hand-washing
clothes but the setting was far too pretty to mind, much. Occasionally
I get to watch one of the pretty girls washing beside me, skin
glistening with sweat and water, shirt sticking to her chest, grunting
and moaning as she bends over again and again washing her underwear,
then taking the little garments of satin and silk to hang them up to dry
while I'm forced to imagine what the underwear looks like stretched
across the body I've been eyeing for half an hour.
There was no water in the shower
today. No, not no hot water, just no water. Several of the
hardier women washed their hair in the laundry sinks (I dont know
why the laundry sinks get water but the showers dont) but I'd had
enough cold showers and I planned to skip this evening's formal inauguration
ceremony anyway, so I waited it out. Two hours later there's water, but
none of it hot. Italy is not the third-world country you might believe
from my descriptions, but our hotel aint exactly the Ritz either.
Over Cortona during the day a flock of swallows race about. These amazingly agile and fast birds catch flying insects in the air for their diet, an incredible feat for which they are greatly appreciated, as there is hardly a mosquito or fly in the whole town except the one that's buzzing about my room as I write, of course. At night there are bats that do the same thing with sonar, a feat that astounds me every time I see them. Yet I could thrash around this tiny room with a sandal for a full hour, breaking lamps and scaring the neighbors, in a vain attempt to kill this fly, one as big as a quarter, and it is likely to escape unscathed.
One of the many cats of Cortona.
The gang returned from the
formal inauguration, yet again despondent. Heather and I are, yet again,
smiling ear to ear since we skipped out to have pizza, gelato and wine
at the pizzeria in the park with yet another breathtaking view. (I'm trying
hard not to spread the secrets of how to enjoy this trip to the other
students but with each dull tour, pointless speech or painful ceremony
the administration scares off a few more in search of something more rewarding.)
Heather ate an entire pizza, sucked down 1/2 a bottle of red wine, ate a 3 scoop gelato and then, for some reason, had difficulty climbing the hill back to the dorm, then had a stomach ache upon arrival. Further educational insight for you viewers at home - always consider the return trip when you go out in hilly Tuscany!
me, Im sure Ive failed to describe the buns-of-steel-program
that is the daily commute to and from classes. The hillside of Cortona
is a good thirty-degree incline and theres just no avoiding it.
Of course the dorm is almost at the top of the hill and both my classes
are at the bottom.
My classes are in the yellow building on the right. The dorm is one of the buildings you can't quite see in the distance near the top of the hill.
The local bike
rental place charges 90,000 lire a week for bikes. Heather and I opted
to find ones to buy with the hope of selling them at the end of the quarter
so we ask Rick. Rick introduced us to Umberto Rossi, a local woodworker
of some importance. Umberto introduced us to Margio (I think that's his
name), a local bicyclist, who offered to take us into the large town in
the valley to shop the two places for bikes. The catch - he speaks about
as much English as I speak Italiano, which is to say none at all. We figured
he's either really a nice guy or his brother owns the bike shop but I
was in a brave and trusting mood so Heather put on her adventuress persona
and we agreed to meet him that afternoon.
tough to ride and ride and ride when you have a nice ass pedaling in front
of you, and Heathers does the job perfectly. Her hips wiggle, her
hair blows in the breeze, I could smell her sweat from time to time, the
adrenalin pumped through my veins and I could outride any marathon biker
alive as long as that carrot dangled in front of my nose.
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this site is owned by Degenerate Press and cannot be used without our
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cause trouble (no kidding), so play nice. Copyright © 2002, All
All original content on this site is owned by Degenerate Press and cannot be used without our permission. We have lawyers for friends with nothing better to do than cause trouble (no kidding), so play nice. Copyright © 2002, All Rights Reserved