Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Luck of Corn Chips and Pie

Like Barry Lyndon, I will refuse to give you a travelogue, telling you how tedious travelogues can be. And then I will give you a travelogue. Also like Barry Lyndon, I cut a fine figure indeed in my plumed hat while riding in my coach-and-six; my sword is still warm with the blood of a man who claimed differently, I'm not afraid to own.

This was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing that we're talking about here. My last day in Italy, and I blundered upon the biggest fucking party I have ever seen. How big? In American terms, lessee: it was as if the Chicago Cubs had won the World Series over Hitler and Hirohito, in the Castro, on Halloween, uh, and then throw in the Puerto Rican day parade. I came upon a mob of Italians staring up at a hotel window, chanting and roaring. After forcing my way to the middle of the mob, Gattuso himself stuck his bearded face out of the window, to a massive cheer. For the next few minutes, various Azzurri made cameos out the window, and then one of them held the actual bleeding World Cup out the window, like the Pope dangling Michael Jackson's baby over the balcony.

Then the parade commenced: Buffon actually sprayed champagne on me from the top of a bus, which is surely my best celebrity encounter of all time. I followed the surging crowd down towards the Piazza Vittorio Emmanuele, and it felt like I was part of a victorious army marching on Rome. Without the raping and burning, of course. Hundreds of thousands of people clogging the streets, climbing buses, rocking (but not quite overturning; Detroit still has one up on Rome) cars, and singing that goddamned White Stripes riff all night until I began to have auditory hallucinations on the flight home.