Not a Francesca Sort of Girl

It is June of this year and my seventeen year-old daughter Spank and I are in Rome for some major museum crashing. Fresh off the subway with a crappy, zoomed out map, our suitcases rumble on the cobblestones as we search for a tiny B and B. This is the first time it’s just the two of us so far away from home. It’s a little dirtier and hotter than Paris and London and the cars aren’t as fancy, but the colors are more saturated and everything moves in slo-mo.

As there are no signs advertising the place, we pass it up, come back, and stand at the address feeling like suckers with our pre-paid internet booking.

One of the building tenants lets us through the gigantic wooden doors as she goes through. We stand in the courtyard, still dumbfounded. The tennant has never heard of the place. Finally, I spot an intercom near a glass door and see the name of the place in a tiny slot in 10 point courier. Here we are from half-way around the world and this is my mark, a tiny piece of paper less than half a square inch in a courtyard behind colossal wooden doors. And I fucking find it.

After the buzzer, a deep voice says, “Fifth floor” then buzzes us into the foyer. Like every place in Rome, it has a marble corkscrew staircase, and this one, an add on cage-type elevator in the middle.

But it is broken. We carry our suitcases up five flights of stairs and finally get to the office, which is actually an apartment. We are slicked over with sweat from all the walking and stair climbing in this crushing heat wave. A little embarrassed. A six-foot brunette with impossibly long legs opens the door, looks us over from head to toe, then gestures for us to come in. She is the only person I have ever actually seen sashay. As we follow her into the apartment/office, she doesn’t bother to throw on any lights, but I notice her hair is teased up so high I can see through it. Her clingy, belted t-shirt dress barely covers her ass.

In the middle of her apartment, she welcomes us to sit across from her at a desk. Her accent is thick Italian, rhythmic, and spoken like the last waves of high tide. She manages to give us details about the city, where to go for breakfast, how to get tickets to skip the line at museums. I ask if there are places to avoid, especially at night, since Spank and I are two women, alone.

Her eyeballs are heavy, as if the pupils are made of lead while she struggles to keep her eyes level with mine, but she does. She flicks her wrist, flays her fingers, “Rome-uh… is safe-uh.”

She slides a piece of paper across the desk, “Call me-uh, when you-uh, wake up-uh, they need-uh, to fix-uh, air condition-uh.”

There is only a number on the paper, no name. I look back up at her and ask what I’d hoped I wouldn’t have to know, “What’s your name?”

Between that question mark and before she spoke, in my head, my own voice begs, please don’t say Paola, please don’t say Paola, because I’m going to develop a tic right here and give off the tiniest hint of a smile.

And as if she read my mind, the name slowly rolls off her tongue, like that eight ball you call in the right corner pocket, dropping in there with its last bit of momentum, “Paola.”

I don’t tic out on her, or look at Spank, I just write her name, concentrating hard because she’s watching. I had to make damn sure not to write “Paolo.”

Francesco-Francesca doesn’t cross my mind as she isn’t a Francesca sort of girl. No, she’s too angular, her chin too strongly chiseled, cheekbones a bit too sharp.

Then she takes us to the marble staircase with the elevator shaft in the middle. Asks us to wait up there with our luggage so she can “reset” the elevator. Roman staircases have the acoustics that make every footstep sound as if you are right next to it. So we hear her stilettos “tic-toc, toc-tik, toc-toc” like a broken clock, all the way down until they stop. Then the elevator cage closes, CLANG!

That’s when Spank and I look at each other and call it at the same time, “Thatsadude.”

And we are totally cool with that. If Rome is safe for her, it is safe for us.

_______________

I like searching for wireless network names while traveling, struck gold here, look down to the fourth one.

Speaking of fourth, don’t you love it when an artist breaks the fourth wall? Gives me chills. (this is part of Raphael’s School of Athens).

Advertisements

What Am I Doing Up?

I was in the all night grocery store at 2 AM a few nights ago, just there for one thing but hell, when can I get out of there with one thing?

Grab some milk, bread, see some pretty eggplant and have a sudden urge to light that biatch and photograph it. Goes into the basket.

Get to the register and this dude at the counter, he asks me what I’m doing grocery shopping so late at night.

I’m quite stunned that someone has the nerve to ask me something like that. I’m not a bitch so I didn’t ask for his manager.

Besides, I like settling my own problems.

What I’m doing…

A million things cross my mind and not a single one of them is the truth. I didn’t owe him that. Nah, truth can be boring. Had he actually paid attention to what was in my basket, he wouldn’t have asked.

I could have told him I was a cop who just finished a stake out.
A doctor just finishing up an emergency thoracotomy.
A ghost hunter.
An insomniac musician with a craving for eggplant.
A bartender.
Hooker.
Stripper.

In the end I gave him the truth and something he deserved. I said, “Je ne comprends pas.”

Accusé

Have you ever left a comment on a blog and just seconds after hitting “submit” regretted it and wanted to take it back because you felt like you might have made a complete fool of yourself?

I have.

Now I’ve been accused of a lot of things in my life, but today was the first day anyone ever accused me of not being a Cajun.

And they did it here on this blog.

Here’s the comment someone left on my “About Me” page:

I’m sorry but i have grown up Cajun AKA coonass and I believe you’ve grown up somewhere in Shreveport LA, Which is not Cajun . Your video of the Cajun viral video of the guy that sounds more like a Mexican is freaking stupid. Please before you call your self Cajun please make sure you really are one.

Thanks
Dustin Bordeaux

While I found that completely hilarious, I got all fired up and responded:

You must be talking about Poo Poo Broussard who is just about the hottest thing in Cajun Country right now.

I did not grow up in Shreveport, I grew up near Lafayette. And a little down Bayou Lafourche. I can cook gumbo, catch and boil crawfish, fish oysters (and eat them raw), let’s see… skin a nutria, you better watch out boy, I can give you a good ass whuppin too.

Now behave on this blog, I know yo mamma didn’t raise you to talk like that.

Later I got to thinking that maybe someone was pulling my leg to get a reaction from me. OhmyGod, have I made a fool of myself? Come to think of it, someone had left a comment very recently over at Clair’s blog, something about her not being a Cajun (she is).

Then I thought, maybe it is the same person going all around the internet targeting Cajuns and questioning their roots to start some kind of flame war?

And that just totally cracked me up. If you want to start a riot, go try that. See if you come out of that with your skin intact.

Turns out it wasn’t the same person. The video he’s referring to is probably the one in the post “My Sorry Ass Cajun Christmas.” My sleuthing skills tell me the commenter landed on my blog by looking up “how to debone a turkey.”

Been dere, done dat.

Stuff Cajun People Like

Okay, to make up for sending you all to that other site, I discovered this:
 
StuffCajunPeopleLike

That guy knows what he’s talking about. He grew up not too far from where I did. Go see, go see.

That site makes me laugh.

That site makes me hungry.

That site makes me talk funny.

That site makes me homesick.

At least I’m going to another crawfish boil tomorrow.

So Who Is StuffWhitePeopleLike?

According to the LA Times, it’s a copy writer named Christian Landers.

Here’s a quote from Gregory Rodriguez’s column, White Like Us.

“I’m writing about the white people who think they’re absolutely unique and individual,” Lander told me. “I’m calling them out and poking fun of myself. The things I post are all the things I like too!”

This too:

Still, Lander is less concerned with cross-ethnic and racial relations than he is with how whites treat each other. As a onetime graduate student in the Midwest, he got tired of coastal condescension of the fly-over states and the glib assumption that “red staters are evil and stupid.”

I thought I smelled something political.