Saturday, June 17, 2006

I speak no Italian, but I speak excellent broken English

I came to Tuscany to escape my past. After my marriage to Chester failed, I felt unmoored, vertiginous, gun-shy. No longer confident in my radiant sexuality, I buried myself in Austen and the Brontes, hiding from human contact as an albino quails from the piercing sun's rays. And then my quaint little ceramic shop folded, crushed by the implacable market forces favoring the ceramic super-store down the block. The final blow was the tragic death of my twin sister after a long battle with psoriasis. So I arrived in this delightfully anachronistic hill-town expecting nothing but the requisite unfolding of time, a playing out of the string, an analgesic to dull memory's sting. How could I have guessed that I would find myself again? The villagers, a group of semi-retarded Italian stereotypes, drowned me in their timeless homespun wisdom and bonhomie. And then I met Paolo, the incredibly greasy but irresistable tinkerer, who arrested me with his dark gaze one day next to the olive grove...

Actually, I came to Tuscany so I could hear Laura Branigan's "Gloria" sung, live & in Italian, in a town square in Chianti. And in this I was not disappointed. Otherwise, it's a blur of vineyards and hills and wine as we wobble down the road. It's great. As I learned previously in Ireland, cycling tours mesh surprisingly well with exploration of local alcoholic beverages. More later from Siena.