English spoken here

 

Each heart longing for its home
There they lie in the fountain
Somewhere in the heart of Rome

      "Three Coins in the Fountain"

Our destination to deposit our love lock keys

Our destination to deposit our love lock keys

   We were part of a tourist horde heading for Trevi Fountain, and Carol could sense I was not in a Sammy Cahn frame of mind. It was getting late in the afternoon, and we hadn't had lunch. That put me in the somewhat unromantic mood to just get to the damn fountain, throw the keys from our love lock in the stupid water and be done with it. Not exactly the kind of atmospheric hook Cahn might have been searching for banging out the notes to his famous tune on his piano.

The crowds on an empty stomach were giving us fits

The crowds on an empty stomach were giving us fits

   "Let's eat first," Carol suggested in a Donner Party kind of desperation, and less than a block from the fountain. Turned out she was having the same hunger pangs I was. She spotted an empty table in a crowded cafe that promised cramped quarters, slow service and banal chit-chat in easy earshot of our table. We hit on all three, plus billows of tobacco smoke blowing back in our faces as a bonus. But we were in Rome, and as they say, "When in Rome, complain as the Romans do."

   The last time I'd visited the Infernal City, they were in a midst of a typically Italian political election that seemed to blend the intrigue of a Marx Brothers movie with the high mindedness of a Three Stooges episode. The race was won by the candidate promising to cleanup the plague of illegal parking in the city. With all the problems facing a modern, major European capital, running and winning on a single-issue campaign of double parking seemed as pipsqueaked as running and winning on an issue of building a useless wall.

   Oops.

Our wish was simply to survive the crowd

Our wish was simply to survive the crowd

   Anyway, on my second visit to the city, the parking crisis had been improved to the point you no longer had to climb over a car hood to cross a street. (Fixing signs that pointed in the opposite direction of where the Trevi Fountain was located might be my suggestion for the mayor's re-election bid.) Lunch was finally concluded, and the pizza provided just enough fat, salt and glutamate to soothe this savage beast. (Fully satiated with a half bottle of white, I even overtipped our waiter with the condescending stare.)

Could have got this guy right where it really hurts had we not eaten first.

Could have got this guy right where it really hurts had we not eaten first.

   At the fountain and having tossed the keys to our love lock over our shoulders, Carol affirmed how the lunch break helped us better enjoy being crushed like a South American soccer crowd at the edge of the fountain.

   "I know," I said, "without eating first, I would have hurled my key right at that statue's nuts."

   Carol eyes widened. "Reid, there are people hear who can speak English."

   Before I could defend myself, a young Italian smiled at me. "You're English is perfect," he said.

   Rome was not on our itinerary once we had changed our arrival city to Munich, but I'm glad we added it back. Carol enjoyed it, and seeing the Vatican was a bucket list sightsee for her. For me it taught me the palliative effects of pizza so that the statuary in Trevi will not have to be outfitted with catchers’ cups.