At the ripe age of 44, I have trouble recalling some of my youthful motivations. Why did I want to be an astronaut? Why did I love Raggedy Ann and Holly Hobbie so? What did I ever see in that weirdly lanky kid in seventh grade that I had a crush on? (He must have had a great personality.)
I also have been wondering when my deep rooted love for Italy started. Was it ingrained in me? Italy was at the forefront of who we were, my family. Italy was where we came from. We had Italian blood running through our veins!
Perhaps it was the unattainable idea that was appealing to me in my youth. As an awkward, insecure teenage girl, Italy was far away and romantic and therefore, full of promise of the unknown.
Shall we keep on the topic of coffee and the Italian bar?
The muses took over as I slowly breathed in the Florentine landscape around me that moved and whirled in a drowsy rainy spring. I sat in so many bars and cafe’s and pasticcerias while I was visiting Florence, writing, waxing poetically about everything I saw.
I wonder if Hemingway preferred the bars he wrote in because it was the thing to do in his day or if it was the mix of tourists…now that I write that, I think perhaps there were not tourists in his day as there are today when you come to Europe.
Perhaps he loved the rhythm of the day that can be found at European bars and cafés. A quick caffe (shot of espresso) in the morning, folks on their way to work, waking up to each other’s smiles, complaints and gossip, the work crowd quickly dissolving with the slowing sounds of cups and saucers and spoons being stacked over and over again. The older crowd shuffles in for their long winded gossip turns or the politics of the day – voicing the kind of opinion that comes from age and time to ponder such provocative thoughts. After farewells, it’s lunch time. A speedy group, even if the Italians are known for their long, late lunches. The bar is for quick panini’s. A late afternoon pick me up espresso crowd followed blends into an aperitivo crowd. And finally the bar is put to bed with boisterous sentiments of the evening drinkers.
If life revolves around the kitchen table, “The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.” – Joy Harjo. Then perhaps the gossip of life, the daily speeds of life can be found in the cafe. Maybe Hemingway was drawn to this changeling called a café when he was in Paris in the 20s.
I take my turn to write and muse as life swirls around me and breath it all in.