Scene 9
Food and Mania

Ancient Rome, The Italian Renaissance, And Postmodern Love

by Frederick Noble

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St. Peters Plaza

If you go to St. Peters, exit the piazza to the left as you're looking at the church. Turn right at the end of the wall and look for the Italian Ice stand about 50 meters ahead, a permanent fixture with a long line of locals there every night. They're not there for the social scene alone. The real fruit and syrup ices are amazing. We went back for more, very sad that we'd found them only on our last day.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for something warm exit the piazza to the right. About two or three blocks down on the left in the basement of a building is a 24 hour bakery. It’s a tiny places jammed full of just about any baked delight you could desire – mini-pizzas and sandwiches, cookies, pastries, candies, everything. In my trips to Roma (Rome) I sampled it all and it was all delicious. But be nice to the grumpy man behind the counter. No matter what time of day I’ve been in the place – breakfast, lunch, dinner, midnight snack, 4 AM drunken munchies, the same guy was there. We couldn’t figure out when he slept, which probably explains his mood. 24 hour bakery
If you’re looking for a tasty, cheap lunch hit a pizza stand somewhere off the beaten path. In Roma pizza is often cooked in long, almost rectangular sheets. In the mornings the cooks go to the market and whatever looks good that day is what goes on the pizzas that afternoon. At my favorite parlor they usually had a dozen or so pizzas to choose from, with toppings including spinach, pepperoni, sausage, fresh mozzarella, basil, garlic, fresh tomato, potato, just about anything. It’s good stuff.

After trying my best "Hello there" stare for 6 days I finally got my first double-take. Rumor had it back home that Italiano women were difficult to pick up. I couldn’t even get a wave out of them thus far. I suspected the woman that finally noticed me was a tourist, though I was taken by such surprise that I didn't even get the chance to confirm. I just stood there with my mouth open as she turned and walked away.

That evening we retired to the hotel, weary from walking more hours in a couple days than I’ve walked cumulatively in my entire life. I discovered my roommate, John, had a girlfriend on the trip and he spends much of his time in her room. I’m envious and wonder what her roommates are doing with the extra body in the room. I have a vivid imagination and I already hate him for the adventures I imagine he’s having.

Roman columnI headed down to Heather’s room and found her wiped out. She had some tendonitis in her legs and was generally sore all over from the excessive hiking we’d been doing. I offered to massage her feet and legs and she jumped at the offer. I got the lotion and started rubbing. Her roommate was piddling about getting ready to go out or something but I hardly noticed her. Heather’s groans of appreciation drowned out all other sensory input. I could feel that same rage I felt on the boat in the bay of Napoli, that feeling that I could walk through a biker bar and kill every last one of them and walk out, covered in blood and none of it my own, the same feeling the Vikings felt when they got low on food or women and went about raping and pillaging.
“I owe you a lot," she said, interrupting the roar in my head.
“You heard me.”
“What do you mean?” I asked, realizing my voice was taking on a desperate, assholish tone.
“I owe you a lot, but we may have to wait until we get to Cortona.”
I finally put two and two together in my barely-functioning brain.

On again.

The tension I hadn’t even realized had built up in my shoulders slowly faded and I couldn’t stop the smile spreading on my face.

Roman fountain

Roman lanternThat’s the end of Act 1. You should head to the lobby, have a glass of wine and some light conversation with the other patrons about what might be next, or what a loser our hero is, or how nicely the beautiful backgrounds and sets contrast against the action on stage.


Time for a little Manic Depression by Jimi Hendrix, from Are You Experienced?
Manic depression is touchin' my soul
I know what I what but I just don't know
how to, heh, go about gettin' it
Feeling, sweet feeling,
drops from my fingers, fingers
Manic depression is a-catchin' my soul...yeah
Woman so weary, the sweet cause in vain
You make love, you break love
its-a all the same
when its, when its over, mama
Music, sweet music,
I wish I could caress, caress, caress
Manic depression is a frustrating mess
Cry on, guitar
Well, I think I'll go turn myself off,
and-a, uh-huh, go on down
All the way down
Really ain't no use in me hanging around
in, uh-huh, your kind-a scene
Music, sweet music
I wish I could caress, and-a kiss, kiss
Manic depression is a fustratin' mess
Oh, ah
Music, sweet music, sweet music, sweet music, ah
music, sweet music, sweet music, yeah
Hmm-hmm-hmm, depresss...
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