My wife packed an entirely separate bag of clothes for Italy, whereas I, deciding to be an efficient and practical person, packed clothes for the wedding week, which would then be recycled in Italy after doing laundry. “Have fun with your bag of stale clothes,” I thought to myself. Then 30 minutes before heading to the airport I opened the dryer and found that the dryer had broken. Every article of clothing coming with me to Italy was soaking wet.
You want to blame everyone within 30 feet of you when something like that happens.
“How could you let me do this?! Let me make my clothes wet, like a fool. Didn’t anyone think this was a possibility? No one speaks up? The Italians will never accept me now.” I wanted to say.
“Honey, are you drunk?” My wife would theoretically ask me.
Drunk off my fermented tears caused by broken dreams, I’d say. Except I didn’t say that. I kinda just glared into the middle distance, punched the air for 5 seconds, then stuffed my soggy clothes into a garbage bag, and shoved them into my luggage. I briefly toyed with the idea of refurbishing my wardrobe with dry Italian clothes. Italian Gap was having a back to school sale, or so I’d heard.
The plan for the flight was to sleep–we were arriving 7:00 AM in Rome and it’s a 6 hour time difference. Lots to do in Rome. Need to be awake to do it. But, I didn’t consider that there’d be free in-flight entertainment. Like The Avengers Movie. I watched Avengers twice on the plane, and then was going for a third time when we landed. I’ll sleep when Avengers stops being so damn entertaining and bantery.
Remember how my only dry clothes were the ones I was wearing, everything else was in a wet bag of garbage in my suitcase? Well, it was pouring in Rome. And I was wearing shorts and sandals and a t-shirt. It was 7:00 AM. And we weren’t expected to check in to our apartment until noon. So now we were a little bit lost, damp as hell, homeless, and unable to communicate with anyone. Time to start screaming, right?
Right. But one thing to consider.
My wife is the perfect height. When I hold her, her head tucks under my chin perfectly, like two puzzle pieces of a picture of a head and a chin fitting together. All this stuff that would make you want to drop to the ground in histrionics, you just don’t do when you have someone whose head tucks under your chin so well. You want to be their strength, as much as they want to be yours. Also, you don’t want them to be ashamed of you after only being married 3 days.
You just stay quiet until you wrap your head around the wet clothes thing, the rain thing, the no sleep and the we don’t know how to get in touch with the guy that we’re renting our apartment from thing. Let go. Push forward. Being upset about any of that, won’t change any of it. It’s just happening. And we’re happening too.
So we dragged our crap through the rain. Asked directions. Stood outside of our building. Suspected everyone of being a pick pocket, especially people with arm crutches, because you’d suspect them least, but I’m on to their tricks, so I suspect them first, “cerebral palsy my ass, pal. You’re not getting my wallet.”
And we just enjoyed it for what it was. An adventure. An adventure with rain in it.
Then we met an old man named Emilio. He let us in out of the rain and into the lobby of the building where we were renting an apartment. We didn’t speak Italian. He didn’t speak English. But we talked with him for 45 minutes. We didn’t understand a word he was saying. We could only guess. It was then that I caught on to how sing-songy the Italian language is. How speaking it in my flat-confused-consulting-my-phrase-guide way makes it sound ugly. Sing-songy, I had to remember that. Emilio had the perfect old man Italian voice. A little gruff. Passionate. Happy. I think he was saying he was excited that we were from LA, and he’d been there before, and he’d seen the final resting places of several famous actresses, including Marilyn Monroe, and then he took in a show at the Pantages. Though, he might have been saying he was going to axe murder both of us and bury us at the dump. But… you know… I can’t speak Italian, so he either said that, or the other thing I mentioned before. Either way, it was the first uniquely Italian experience of our honeymoon. And it was wonderful. The conversation, we’ll call it. Worth being in the rain for.
Eventually, we figured out how to get into our apartment. Hung up all of my wet clothes to dry. And with the rain drumming on the ceramic tile terrace outside of our bedroom window, and my wife’s head tucked under my chin, we had the second experience of our honeymoon. A 4 hour nap.