Back in Milan, I’m buried under my dog. She’s known throughout the Navigli as La Patatona. I’m getting to know all the commeres du quartier. When I was a kid, they frightened me. Now we walk our dogs together. They must have become nicer, or I’ve become meaner. The WWII widows all in black are gone. A lot of time has passed since I lived in Europe in the 1980s, and so do lives. They are deceased now, along with their sons, husbands, brothers.
I live in a semi-permanent state of future nebulousness. As uncomfortable as it sounds, it’s better than living with the inevitability of a hard return date to North America. I will be here next week to eat the gelato, so I don’t have to stop at every gelateria I see. I will walk the dog in the park again tomorrow and see the same people. I might as well make an effort to speak Italian. I’m here for melon season and it’s turning into apricots and cherries. Make fruit salad.
It dawns on me that I haven’t cooked a meal since July 26 2018. I realize all I’ve put on hold for the past eleven months. Sewing. Stretching. Sketching. Kvetching with friends. My sister’s wedding. Sitting outdoors just thinking. With so much reading to do and papers to write, interviews to conduct and exhibits to not miss, every hour mattered. Keep going.
By the end of the next three months, I’ll have in effect written four theses: a business plan for food as cultural heritage; a consultancy for a ballet company’s conservatory; a case study on neuroscience in museums; and a policy paper about diversity in dance. This snowjob should frighten away any employer.
I dream that I’m sitting in a transmittal meeting in Hindi, that I’m trying to plug my US computer to a Euro converter connected to a Chinese outlet that’s falling out of the wall, or that as a Canadian citizen, I’m applying for a British Columbia visa. I think my brain scrambled Vancouver and the Vatican. I still need lots of naps to sort it out.
Naps are more frequent as Italy heats up for the summer. To avoid the sun, the morning dog-walk is coming earlier; the nighttime dog-walk is falling later. Soon they’ll merge into a 3-hour middle-of-the-night walk. Time to head north to coolder weather.