Thursday, July 23, 2009

First of all...


I leave for 6 days and you guys let Henry Louis Gates, Jr get arrested at his OWN HOUSE? Seriously, guys. WTF?

Because I am paying like 80 billion euros a minute to be on this computer, I could only skim the details, but jesus h christ.

Anyway - that makes me angry just thinking about it, so I need to move on. Let's talk about me.

I was supposed to go to Lucca today, but the woman who rents her aparment to me, Louisa, shook her head disapprovingly at me and said in mostly Italian with enough hand gestures and serious looks for me to translate exactly what she meant to say, which was approximately, "Oh, but it's molto caldo (so hot!). The Lucca people, they come here now, to the sea. Too hot in Lucca. You go in May." And like the 3 nights before, I humbly ask if I can stay again and she smiles broadly as I produce my euros and she says, "Ah, si, va bene." And that is how Louisa gets me.

Louisa is living high on the hog now. MY HOG, I may add. The day I arrived tough winds blew apart a few of her potted plants. The next day she came to my (her) white-washed apartment and showed me a new cactus she bought to replace one of the old. She was beaming. And then the next night I saw her walking with her old friend, going to dinner. To dinner! With my fat euros in her pocket. And then yesterday she warned me that today she would be gone mezzo giorno and that she was getting her throat checked. After a long mutual mime-attempt at understanding one another, we managed to act out that she has lesions on her throat and would be heading to La Spezia to have it checked out. She would be getting "exams" and doing "exclusions" (ruling things out, I think she meant). Look at her. Flush with American money, she's splurging on exploratory surgery. The nerve.

Every time she comes to see me, she looks out the window with me, at the tower, and the pink and yellow and pastel green buildings with the laundry fluttering underneath windows and she beams, saying to me, "It's special here," like she needs to make sure that I understand just how great it is to be here, in this town, in this house.

I do.

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

How is it possible that your posts are making me ache with missing Italy!!!! However, thanks for sharing I feel like I've traveled to Italy with you!

enjoy it, time flies!

You are ridiculously finny. I LOL while reading your blog at work!

Mangiati un gelato a caffe anche per me!

Ciao ciao,

Lina

Pam said...

LOL, Thanks for taking the time to post! I sent your last two to Mike (husband)we are cracking up (and learning) We're the couple leaving for Italy in Sept.) Better go to Lucca regardless of the heat don't you think, unless of course you plan on returning in May? Pam

Michelle May said...

perfectly amusing descriptions...laughing to myself outloud.

Harvey Millstein, Certified Interior Decorator, said...

"Throat lesions"--that's a phrase you don't see much of in travel writing.

katie said...

You need to go to Lucca. YOU NEED TO GO TO LUCCA. Si, e caldo, mas...Lucca e si bella. (or something like that). 93 friday, 87 high for the weekend. ain't that bad.

Anonymous said...

The nerve, honestly! When she's done, can I live high on the hog off of you too?

Anonymous said...

yep, that was some bullshit with dr. gates. i've seen him in person, and dude is about as big as i am, AND i think he has to make extensive use of a cane. jeezus.

glad you're having a great time. all in all, sounds marvelous.

FROM THE RIGHT BANK said...

Even under time constraints, you managed to give me my biggest laugh of the day. Good to hear you're enjoying yourself.

Habitually Chic said...

Even out of the country, you crack me up! I was seriously laughing out loud! I hope you continue to enjoy your special place and wonderful Italian holiday! Ciao!

Tired and True said...

Dear Ms.Decorno,
Don't get your panties all tied up in knots about Mr. Gates until you read the police report, darling.
Perhaps you, like our fabulous President, should learn the facts before name-calling.
Hope you are having a wonderful time.

mary said...

Oh, how I love this post!!!!! I love Italian ladies...so theatrical. Sounds like a great vacation--sorry about Gates, hope the incident didn't spoil your trip.

Anonymous said...

Oh, please. The only people on the planet who aren't flush with American money are Americans!

Lola Is Beauty said...

Every time I've been to Lucca it's been pouring with rain and/or completely deserted. Your lady sounds like she's angling for some sympathy dollars!

Anonymous said...

About Gates, a neighbor called the police because she saw someone trying to force open the front door. The house had been burglarized recently.
When the cops got there, Gates would not show identification to prove that he belonged in the house. He should have. I would not blame the policeman.

Anonymous said...

Miu Miu wedgies? Yes or No?

Marni at StyleCarrot said...

Love the laundry! I haven't been to Italy in years, but when I returned, I realized all my photos were of people's washing hanging out their windows. Utterly charming, and I'm not being sarcastic. Have fun!

Fashion Maven said...

Tried and True,

Gates broke no laws and produced his id. The cop's ego was bruised because Gates spoke to him so harshly (again - NOT an arrestable offense). He should apologize. As soon as it was proven that Gates lived at the home, the officer should have left. He absolutely acted stupidly. I don't know where people get off thinking that black people should just 'shut up' around the cops like we're second class citizens and if we don't, what we get is our own fault, but that's just wrong.

Darling.

And Decorno - I love your blog. Your post today had me laughing outloud.

down pillow said...

Seriously, I gotta get back to work- but your blog is fantastic! I have sat here and laughed and giggled and forwarded on so much of your stuff. Love that no nonsense attitude! Keep bringing it!

Anonymous said...

"Don't get your panties all tied up in knots about Mr. Gates until you read the police report"

Right, because the police have that awesome record of credibility.

Decorno said...

No Miu Miu wedges. I think I made the right choice. Cork wedges, while light, take up a lot of room. And I would certainly have broken my ankle by now. The steps in these old buildings are so uneven that when I come home in the dark, I have missed the step a few times, catching my gladiator sandals on the lip of the stairs. I had visions of coming home from Italy without my front two teeth.

amm said...

If you do get to Lucca, two things: a lovely flower market a few mornings a week and, one of my favorite restaurants of all time, even though it's been twenty years (it's that special), Boca de San Antonio. First place I ever ate rabbit.

Anonymous said...

Two sides to every story:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32122233/ns/today-today_people?GT1=43001

Meg Biram said...

You are hilarious. Keep it up! Try not to trip on any steps or sidewalks!

Anonymous said...

Gurllll...... you're missing a queen's riot.

NY Times features the 'Lake House After the Alpha Gay Divorce' and every boy worth his pearls is clutching or spitting.

Here, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/23/garden/23divorce.html?_r=1&ref=garden

It's like chum in the water over at AT.

Smooches!

Anonymous said...

Anon 7: 00 AM,

"Tired and True" is the Ann Coulter of this blog, hanging around in her black mini skirt and leathery skin.

Anonymous said...

How charmed I am that you are battling internet cafes to post. I had enough trouble just trying to read my email and confirm my plane reservation.

Re your earlier post: I first learned that Europeans weren't all elegantly mannered and superior to vulgar Americans years ago in a museum in Florence--they pushed and shoved to the head of non-existent lines while the Americans stared in wonder and got trampled in the fray. Lots of misconceptions in the world.

Which brings me to Dr. Gates, the cop, and our own Dear Leader. I think people--including DL who has been back peddling like mad--should wait to get the facts before projecting opinions as facts. I expect that (1) appearances were misleading and there was a misunderstanding; (2) Gates was an arrogant jerk ("Do you know who I am?"); (3) the cop over-reacted; (4) everyone projected like crazy; (5) DL stepped in the shit without thinking and reacted like a community organizer (whatever that really is) not the President; (6) the media had a field day; (7) lawyers held forth; and (8) our own Ms. Decorno--in Italy no less--joined the fray. Really. The snake-brain that I try to suppress really hopes that burglars clean out Dr. Gates next week and the police don't come. Ha.

I will add that there was some major police attitude displayed around here a few months ago when they were called because my neighbor heard someone in his house when he came home unexpectedly at night and found two guys in the basement trying to steal his new flat screen TV. Oh yes, lots of attitude as the police chased unknown men--maybe armed, maybe not; maybe crazy, maybe not -- in the dark. Boy, were we all happy to see them, attitude and all. People need to get a grip on reality.

Re laundry in Italy: I recall a few years ago staying in a wonderful little hotel in Florence, my husband sent his laundry out via the hotel--in other countries we had always found a laundromat, but not in Italy. Since we were leaving that day, the ladies at the hotel were ironing it dry--or rather ironing it only slightly damp.

Ivy Lane said...

You have a new profession on the horizon! Travel writer extroadinaire!

Anonymous said...

While in Lucca - you must bike the walls, "do" passigiata and attend an opera in the church...I forget the name ( sorry but info is everywhere)I love Lucca so much we named our dog Lucca...and of course have an Apreol Spritz...
Try and get to the beach..Forte di Marmi is very close...

SevenSpelledOut said...

You armchair quarterbacks make me sick. Anybody asked to produce a license by a police officer, must cooperate without giving any lip, and baby he gave plenty of it, the whole thing was recorded back to the station on the open mic. See Chris Rock's youtube on "How not to get you ass kicked by the police." for further instructions Fashion Maven. We ALL have to follow the same rules when it comes to cooperating with the police.

Anonymous said...

Decorno- so like you and Obama to get all hot and bothered about something without knowing all the facts. The policeman in the Gates situation acted properly- Gates did not. Read the police report. Even Obama had to back track.

Anonymous said...

Decorno, you are GREAT!
I cannot stop laughing from this post about your travels.
And if you can stand one more comment about this Gates thing:
Talk about acting stupidly. How about playing the race card and dissing a cop doing his job in the process? Obama isn't a community organizer anymore. He's President of the United States. And the cop in question is widely known as a decent guy who teaches the courses to rookies about the dangers of racial profiling.

By the way, Gates wasn't arrested for breaking into his own house, he was arrested for "exhibiting loud and tumultuous behavior."

Here's a good lesson whether you're Black, White, Green, or Blue: Don't get into a loud argument with a person who is in possession of a badge and/or a gun.

The next time you are trying to get through the security check point at an airport, try getting into a shouting match with one of those TSA geniuses and see how quickly they smile, nod, and happily escort you to your plane.

Anonymous said...

RE: Gates v. Cambridge police - you all need to get your facts straight. All parties acted "stupidly" and the situation got out of hand. Our esteemed President only added fuel to the fire unnecessarily. Reminded me of Bush saying "bring 'em on". Charcoal meet lighter fluid. Cambridge is one of the most liberal cities in America - from citizenry to politicians. The police have an exemplary record with regards to race and there was at least one black policeman - a Sargent - at the scene. He was on the news standing up for the way the police acted and accused Prof. Gates of over reacting. This officer has certainly also experienced the sad - and very true - situation of being harassed because he was a black man. But, if we can't expect the elites such as Gates and Obama to be able to rise above it and act responsibly, how can we expect the cops on the street, or even the rest of us?

As I said, they all over reacted and it was an embarrassment to the City of Cambridge, Prof. Gates and President Obama.

Anonymous said...

You all should watch some of the British dramas. The citizens cuss out the police and call them names etc, and the police just take it. Here they haul you in for looking cross eyed. I am pretty sure Mr. Gates produced his Id and took umbrage to their tone of voice, like a black man of his age couldn't possibly own a nice house. Then cussing them out, they got defensive in return. Gates is a man who deals with people all the time, I am sure they got surly before he did.

Anonymous said...

You're way way off on the Gate arrest, even Obama was wrong. Please take some time to watch the officer's interview.

Rebecca@Harmony and Home said...

Wow! I'm jealous! I wish I was in Italy right now! Even if it is hotter than Haitis!

Anonymous said...

Keep the posts coming! I love reading about the every day stuff that makes Italy so, well, Italy.
:)

maria

the carolyn said...

Decorno: I'd love a report on the Kindle when you get back. Don't miss this:

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/08/03/090803fa_fact_baker?currentPage=all

leni said...

i'm so jealous! i hope you're enjoying yourself. stay cool!

CDS said...

La bella Italia! enjoy the rest of your trip!

Patrice said...

I love reading your post, you made me laugh out loud. Have a safe and a happy trip.

Anonymous said...

I'm enjoying all the comments that say:

"You should believe the police! Because they are the police!"

Anonymous said...

"Gates was an arrogant jerk"

Translation: Uppity.

Kristin said...

I'm jealous! I want to be in Italy.

I heard DeWayne Wickham on NPR today. It was interesting.

http://www.wypr.org/midday.html 7/28/09 1:00-2:00 p.m.

The officer couldn't arrest Gates for disorderly conduct for yelling inside his own home. He had to get Gates to yell outside. The officer should have done what he is trained to do: leave the home of an upset person who has not broken any laws. Gates had already proven the house was his before the officer asked him to step outside. Wickham proposes that the officer got angry because Gates accused him of being racist, and he carefully drew out the interaction by asking Gates to go outside with him so he could nab him on disorderly conduct.

And why can't our black president express black views? This is the first racially-charged incident that has gotten widespread media attention since the election; I fully expect Obama to tell me his views when asked. I am disappointed that people shrieked and he decided to backpedal. I agree with his initial statement. The officer did act stupidly, even if he was, as Wickham says, very cunning.

For my bit, I thoroughly believe the vast majority of white people do not understand how widespread and insistent racial profiling is. I know I don't see it happen to others when I'm by myself (I'm too busy doing my own thing, having my conversations, traveling my own path), but when I'm with my black boyfriend, I do see that police and security officers study us very carefully. It's different when the eyes are on you. It's different when you're the only person stopped to show ID to get through a building. It's different because it's obvious.

Anonymous said...

"... he was arrested for 'exhibiting loud and tumultuous behavior.' "

An excellent law! I'm sure there is no possibility that the police would ever abuse such a fine statute.

Anonymous said...

"And why can't our black president express black views?" I love when white people talk/ write like this. Haha. Pray tell, what are these "BLACK VIEWS?" that all African Americans supposedly share? Is that kind of like a black person eating "black food?" You know, like fried chicken and watermelon? Or perhaps wearing "black fashion:" thick gold chains or kente cloth?

Anonymous said...

If you all hate the police so much, don't call them when you need them.

Anonymous said...

"If you all hate the police so much, don't call them when you need them."

Exactly! The problem isn't the police. It's our ingratitude!

Kristin said...

Anon 6:20

I can see that my comment was poorly articulated, and I apologize for any offense. In reading “black views,” I see that it can imply 1. that all black people think this way, and/or 2. only black people think this way, and neither was my intention. Please allow me to clarify: I think there is a rich and highly developed discourse within black communities, among black scholars and scholars studying race, and in media targeted to black communities that concerns issues such as racial profiling. The depth of this discourse is practically non-existent in the multiple white communities I have lived in and not well represented in mainstream media. I think there is a racial divide in this country, and I believe that it won’t go away until the majority of all people acknowledge and participate in this discourse. I think the backlash against Obama’s comment was fueled in large part by white communities’ discomfort with talking about these issues, partly because they don’t see that the issues exist, and the mainstream media‘s attempt to capitalize on racial tension for ratings. I think it is appropriate for Obama to talk about these things. Moreover, I expect him to. We have the never-before-seen opportunity to have a black person sit in the most powerful position in the world, and I think he should be supported in helping bridge the gap in the discussion.

However, I found the tone of your comment to be insulting. There are better ways to point out the potential problems in someone’s phrasing than to imply what I said was essentially the same as saying black people spit watermelon seeds. Why would anyone want to engage in conversation with you when you are just rude and demeaning?