Pisa, dreams of train fucking, Swedes, and do I need a press pass? - 2003-01-20 - 6:25 p.m.

The lack of updates lately is due to the fact that there are forty computers for public use in this entire school and if you're on one too long the Italians threaten (in Italian) to kick your ass (I assume). Besides, if you were cruising Europe and learning a new language, would you want to hang out at Diaryland all the time? Not if you're me. But this is my update of the last week and a half, dated for your reading convenience.


Early a.m.-- Murphy's Pub

It's hard to communicate self-deprecation outside of your mother tongue.

A few hours later-- Boarding TrenItalia (rhymes with genitalia) to Pisa

Fog. Dogs. Mercedes Mack trucks and Diesel-wearing construction workers. Old-world women in scarves. Piles of oranges w/sticks and leaves left decoratively on. Maybe not decoratively. Beds of ice and greens w/urchins, octopus tentacles-- very forlorn-- and half a swordfish w/the nose pointing straight up into Saturday fog.

In Pisa, re: McDonalds' ten-percent student discount

It's nice to know McDonalds is rewarding its international constituency. Always good to see them taking time out from their busy corporate fucking cocksucking schedules to iodize the stomachs and fatten the thighs of young adults worldwide.

Later that day

Ah, Pisa. I love you for the twinkly little tourist trap that you are. I love that I can walk across you in forty minutes, I love the shitty attitudes of you shop assistants, the wide variety of rasta beanies available for purchase on your street corners. Had there been a rasta beanie with the leaning tower knitted into it, I would have bought it in a fucking second. But alas, they must have run out.

The most exciting part of this day trip was ditching the other kids, fratty and wanting to shop for commemorative Leaning Tower piggy banks, too hung over to participate in good conversation, and taking pictures of abandoned buildings all over the city. There's a Kieth Haring on the side of a Chinese restaurant in the main piazza... rude boy graffiti... haunted medieval strongholds with birdsa nesting in them... and I've started a new, poignant body of work called "Photos of Italian people who look so fucking money that I might as well shoot myself because there's no chance I will ever dress even remotely as cool as they do". (Can "cool" be used as an adverb?) The 80-year-old man wearing red Pumas, tailored wool pants, and a red Adidas track jacket is a good example. He spoke not a word of English except for when I told him sono americana, and then his eyes lit up and he said "Ah, New York!" Money, money, all night long.

Oh, and I walked into what was evidently a movie set-- TWICE. I like to think that it takes real flair to be so graceless. The story goes like this: I'm walking over the bridge after coming back from seeing the L.T. and trying in vain to climb that exciting wall that partially surrounds it, and I see ahead of me 3 people standing near a tripod. They're pushing buttons and chattering away, giving off all the visual cues of photography students, so I'm like, "Oh, photography students. Man, that camera sure is shit-hot." But no, this was wrong, because as I'm not-quite-circumventing them in an attempt to get to the sidewalk behind them, a woman started waving me wildly out of the way. It was then that I looked over and spotted the sound equipment hiding behind a newspaper stand.

Did you know that "I'm sorry" in Italian translates almost literally into "my bad"? Ah, fun with idioms.

So I kept walking and about two hours later, after some window shopping because it was siesta and everything was closed, I got back to the piazza in front of the train station, near where the Kieth Haring is. And I spot this Ye Olde-esque bar and pasticceria so I think, "Oh, maybe I'll sit and have wine while I wait for the fratties to return on the bus." But it was not to be, because just as I begin approaching said bar/pasticceria, I am waved frantically away by THE SAME WOMAN who had almost sucker-punched me earlier for walking onto her set. Fuck.

Oh, and guess who's playing a show in Milan next month? That's right, it's everyone's favorite Gainesville anarcho-punk outfit, Against Me! And guess who's going to ditch her Thursday afternoon History of Interior Design seminar and take the train to go see them? That's right, me!

AND the other night at the pub I met some Italian kids who are going to take me to Italian power metal shows. One of them, Ale, was kind enough to drive me home in his Fiat, the car of choice for most Italians except for the ones who drive Audis, and that was interesting. I mean, I was pretty drunk and all, and Ale and I were singing along to his Master of Puppets tape, so I don't really remember thinking anything except "If I die in a Fiat accident and my brains are splattered pumpin-style all over the road and run over by people using public transportation, my mom will be SO pissed off."


After class

I just booked a flight to go to London to see the Richard Hamilton show at the Gagosian and also this fashion trade show that I applied online to get into and I may not be qualified to participate in, but then if they only wanted designers and buyers going there they wouldn't have allowed ticket requests over the internet would they?

And I met some Swedes in my last class. Two Swedes. Fucking hell yeah Sweden! These two are my favorite program kids so far, and we're going to be doing a group project together on Italian fitness culture and eating disorders.

Speaking of eating, I invited them over to my apartment for dinner and they're probably on their way there right now. Must leave.

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