Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Pinguini nel deserto

Boh, mia sorella è semplicemente un genio. Ulteriore prova che si è verificato uno scambio di culle nel settembre del 19** in quel di Torino.

Oltre a gestire la sua regale famiglia a botte di pane e Nutella e abbondanti dosi di carta igienica e colla vinilica e dimenticare bottiglie di latte dietro al letto, gestisce pure un blog che parla fra le altre cose di pinguini nell'arte, televisione, della sorella e del parentado tutto.

E ora ha pure aperto una pagina d'arte su FacciaLibro, "Se i quadri parlassero come gli operatori di Call Center" che ho scoperto posso leggere pur essendo troppo schiccosa (parola di Blanche) per possedere un account su FacciaLibro.

Sono due ore che rido come una cretina. Che poi sarebbe il modo solito in cui rido, ma almeno ho una scusa buona. Tanto che potrei iniziare a pensare a un account FacciaLibroso solo per poter condividere i quadri...

the beautiful anywhere

A boyfriend of mine once told me I couldn't expect me for other people to understand the world around them according only to my references I did to popular culture when talking: the "other people" were apparently normal and not borderline Asperger as I was.
I'm still not completely 100% sure whether I should have taken it as a compliment or not.

But he was right, at least partially. Sometime I get extremely upset, worried, amazed about people not reacting to some of my comments or sentence: not because I think I've written something remarkable, quite the contrary indeed. It's just that I refer to things I believe to be very popular so often that I expect everybody (yes, everybody, even you random reader) to immediately understand what I'm talking about.
And when other people fail in doing so, it's not my being cryptic I blame, but their lack of reaction I get mad at. I keep thinking about it and I've come to the conclusion that my concept of "popular culture" doesn't coincide entirely with other people's one. This doesn't mean I understand how it can possibly be, nor that I accept and resign myself to it. Quite the contrary: part of me still hopes that people will change for once not me... or there will be a reckoning!

I keep waiting and waiting and waiting. And eventually give up.
So here comes a shameful confession. Part of me kept hoping that somebody got the music reference to the title of my April post. I kept hoping to see a comment appear sooner or later, but nothing.
I thought it to be so obvious, but I was obviously mistaken.

Some weeks ago I went back to yet other bands I used to listen many years ago. I'm getting older, I was born old-fashion, dunno, but the idea of subjecting my ears to the pain of listening the poor collection of 1Dimension (I keep calling them like that, I find it more fitting somehow) and Ariana Grande, mixed with the laziness of adventuring and discovering something new, means that, for my own sanity,  I need to just retreat in known territory.

I was under a heavy dose of Housemartins and The Beautiful South when I wrote that post: I hoped somebody got the reference to the song "Rotterdam (or anywhere)"... So now you're fully aware of the level of idiocy I still manage to exceed when left to my own dangerous self.

This could be Rotterdam or anywhere
Liverpool or Rome
'cause Rotterdam is anywhere
Anywhere alone
Anywhere alone

Rotterdam really could be anywhere and you'd be anywhere alone. Because once you're alone, you can't be anything but that: if you are alone, you'll be so anywhere in the world,  because you are, in essence, your own loneliness. 
Yet this song has this nice relaxed upbeat tempo and such a strange lyrics that you can't help but smile: it's strange for such different feelings to fit so naturally well together, but the sweetness of the music just embrace the cynicism that permeates the lyrics.
There's so much more I wish I could say about this song and how I feel each time I listen to it, but I'm running into a wall each time I tried. That's why I hoped that somebody caught the reference: to know that people understood and felt my same way, without me trying to voice my feeling.

So at the end of all, perhaps, all I wanted to say is simply that the song is amazing despite having one of the weirdest music video ever.

Monday, 25 May 2015

running away, just a little

Remember all that "serious and mature" talking about not running away from Milan and my troubles?
Well, if you kept up with this sort of online diary even only for a week you probably know already I'm full of crap.
I wasn't completely lying; I was serious about it, of course I was, just with some caveat, ça va sans dire.
(weird, I use it a lot, ça va sans dire: it's an habit I picked up from a used-to-be-frient that I have apparently wounded very deeply and cruelly in all the different aspects of his frail macho ego. It hurts a little bit each time I say it, because I miss him. Hang on, no, this is not completely true either: I miss the man I came to know and admire and felt happy and proud to have as a friend, I don't miss the resentful, smart aleck drama queen he turned out to be in the end. So the French expression reminds of what could have been and won't be instead; it's a bittersweet, memory and present blur and become music, a weird mix of Wilco, the Smiths and the Pogues).

Mmmmh, I think I should go and delete the parenthesis, but it's a story I haven't stomached fully yet  (one day I'll probably write something about it in a less emotional and more structured way) so it feels fine to let it off my chest even if only a little bit.

Anyway, back to the not-so-much-not-running-away thing. I obviously meant it as a "I won't leave everything as it is to just migrate in a different country, leaving chaos and unsorted business at my back". But I still need time away.
That's why after having spent a weekend in Torino and then another weekend around Berlin, the past weekend saw me getting on a train, destination Ravenna.
Because of a series of unplanned (my subconscious disagrees on that) circumstances, I won't be spending a single weekend in Milan until the middle of July. Unless I can come up with some other dastardly awesome plan that will keep me in Milan only during the working week for some extra weeks months.

I can see some danger in it. Not because I'm extremely wise, but because my friend Barbara pointed out very wisely that I just can't live for the Friday evening.
That's what I'm doing and plan of doing for the next 30-60 days, is it wise? Is it any different from the life I'd normally have if I stayed in Milan.
And maybe running away a little bit on a regular basis can still be more bearable to me, rather than accumulate frustration and bitterness, only to explode and run away big style.
I don't know what could be the right solution, I just know that a weekend in Ravenna and an hellish return journey provided by Trenitalia left me utterly tired yet happy, relieved I didn't spent them in Milan trying to fit it and failing at it.

Friday, 22 May 2015

not really ok

So, I finished reading "Doctor Sleep". As usual, I started with a very casual pace, and then something in my head clicked and I couldn't stop reading. Every second I could spare from any other task (by then downgraded to mundane and secondary anyway) during the day was dedicated to it. I ended up reading the last 100 pages in a marathon between Berlin airport and the flight back home. Never before I was so grateful for Alitalia being the shameful joke it is and being delayed as usual.

Quite early in the novel there's a sentence describing the state Dan Torrance is.
"You take yourself with you, wherever you go. He pushed the thought into a mental closet. It was a thing he was good at. There was all sort of stuff in that closet."
It resonated with me. I kept a bookmark there and kept going back to it. Re-reading those 3 lines worked liked a charm on my mind. They didn't make me feel any better, but a little relieved. There! Here's somebody who can create a fictional character and give him words that fit so well on me but I can't find on my own. If only I could find a way to extend this small episodes of "fitting in" for longer and longer time!
I think my problem is that the closet doesn't lock completely and sometimes things come out without warning nor control.
But sometimes it can be a good thing, as long as you know how to handle it, which I don't.

Recently yet another anniversary passed by without me noticing it. It's the 2nd time in less than a year and I'm starting to worry about my memory.
It's my 3rd year in Milan, and in a few months I'll also celebrate the longest non-stop employment (Nokia is still the longest job to date, but there was the long gap back in Italy): ça va sans dire, as soon as I realized this happened and is going to happen, I immediately began to fret. The reason is always the same: I trick myself into believing that a change of residence or job profile will "fix" me, that if I move somewhere, anywhere really, things will magically sort themselves out.

So here...

Right here I wanted to write something deep and inspirational and meaningful and hopeful and positive. I don't know what the hell I wanted to write here, because I saved it as a draft and went on with the day.
And the day went downhill.

Dan is right, "you take yourself with you, wherever you go" and yesterday evening I was still painfully with myself: in the past 3 years I didn't solve the problems I hoped to solve. Sure, I've learnt a little bit more about them, and about myself, but that didn't really help me yesterday evening, when I once again sought refuge in the food; nor this morning, when I had to face the consequences of it.
I wonder whether a day will come when I won't be afraid of buying food because of the fear I'll eat it all in the moment I get home (which is what basically happened with yesterday groceries, all 35 € of it).
I wonder whether a day will come when I won't have to make silly excuse for not having sugar at home ("because I would and did eat it when left to my own devices" doesn't sound like something to tell your sister or anybody else wondering about lack of sugar anything in your flat).
I wonder I'll ever be, not fine, but at least a little bit ok, so to be able to appreciate what's and who's around me. 
And if I'll manage it before my mental closets explode once more.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Sky and yarn over Berlin

Francesca and I were having a tea some months ago and started wondering about spending a weekend in Berlin for Berlin Knits. Why not, after all?
From there it was all downhill: once the workshop, the plane and the hostel were booked, we were ready to go.

And so last Friday we arrived in Berlin, where the sun and a little breeze were waiting for us.
We spent pretty much of the day out walking around town, and trust me, we did walk a lot.
We didn't manage to visit all the things we were probably thinking to see, but it's just an extra excuse (if we ever needed one) to go back.

Over the following days, we met our dorm mates, all knitters! Some of them even attended the Joji Locatelli workshop Francesca and I went to. It was a nice feeling for once not having to feel like the "odd" one in the group, not having to feel the stares of people wondering what the heck I'm doing with those knitting needles.

We did "some" shopping at the market place, where I met familiar faces from Italy and from last year Brighton Unwind, We behaved quite well, no matter the walls of shiny temptations in front of us: none of us had problem closing the suitcase at the end of the weekend, which is a sign we didn't buy that much (and that we left with almost empty suitcases, but let's not indulge in such irrelevant details).

I kept looking at the sky, thinking how beautiful it can be, even when the clouds are full of promises of cold rain. There's something fascinating in the city, the contrasts, the amount of green all around, the huge boulevards, the amount of graffiti all around.

Maybe I felt it a little bit more than usual, because once again I feel the pull of escaping, the routine of everyday and, above everything else, escaping Milan and the uneasiness I feel when I'm back here. I shushed that traitorous part of me that keeps repeating me that I'd just have to leave Milan (leave Italy?) to feel better, because I know it's just an illusion, yet I keep wishing the sky over Milan could be at least 1/10 as beautiful as the one over Berlin. And that yarn shops in Milan could be at least 1/100 as beautiful as the ones in Berlin, but I'm not sure which one of the requests is the most unattainable.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

king and werewolves

Some weeks ago I was wondering whether waiting for "Doctor Sleep" to be available at my library or buy the e-book, and here the deus ex machina otherwise known as my sister Adri comes along and lets me borrow her copy.

I've read almost all King's novels and short stories, first in Italian and then in English, but it seems it's not in my destiny to host his complete production on my new bookshelves: for many years I relied on my sister's books and then on the library. I lost some of the books during the movings of the past year, even though I'm 100% sure I left "The Stand" at my parents' place some time ago and now it's nowhere to be found (you don't know anything about it, right Blanche?).

"The Shining" is one of those books that I clearly remember reading for the first time and I also remember how if kept freaking me out big time each time I re-read it: not as scared out as when I had a cough attack on the tram while reading the pages in "The Stand" describing the flu pandemic symptoms, but still pretty scared.

As I did re-read it recently, the memory of it is still pretty fresh in my mind and I've felt ready to start the sequel.  How will this novel be? Will it disappoint me? Will I like it? Will I not?

Start reading the damn book and you will know it, no point in wasting time and space with dumb questions! Right.

So, on Tuesday morning, I wake up tired and a bit out of place (Mondays are tough) and head to work. My eyes hurt so much I'm almost ok to be one of those idiot that keep wearing sunglasses in the metro. But then I can't really see the words on the page, so I take the sunglasses off.
A song has just started playing in my commute playlist when words start to come into focus.
Everything freezes around me.

I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand
One word, Warren.

Walkin' through the streets of Soho in the rain

Another word, Zevon.

The book opens with a dedication to Warren Zevon and I read it while listening to Warren Zevon (and probably looking a bit weird, because I feel the compulsion to "aaaahooo!" during the chorus).
Narration hasn't even started and I'm already spooked.
I think...
I hope...


Friday, 1 May 2015

You never know

2 years of sitting on the same chair every Monday evening taught me to understand when an attack of binge eating is approaching.
Right now I can’t do much but keep it at bay until I succumb to it. One day I might manage to deal with it completely, you never know. For now I just go into damage control and try to delay it as much as possible. If I'm lucky I can drag it on till it's time to go to bed and then I'm safe.
For today, however, I managed to keep it under control only for the afternoon. How? By getting myself covered by a homogeneous layer of dirty dark grey dust; dust I also breathed, which explains why I can't stop sneezing right now.

I armed myself with broom, cloths and garbage bags and went to restore order in the basement.
I should have done it way sooner, more or less around the time I filled it with the first wave of boxes before moving to Surbiton.
But procrastination is something I’m good at, even though I still have large room for improving that too (first thing tomorrow), so I allowed time to pass and dust to gather.

By cleaning it, I realized a lot of thing. Gautama sat under a tree not eating and looking a lot like Keanu Reeves, I cover in dirt and then scoff down an unspecified amount of chocolate bars: revelation come in different forms and shapes after all.

My basement is a clear mirror of how I deal with problems: I just hide them away, easier than dealing with it. The problem is that amount of space one can use to store problems or boxes away in a basement is limited and sooner or later the pile of stuff and other shit will collapse, most likely in the moment one has decided to put some order in it. At that point it’d be wise to wear heavy shoes, not random sneakers, as the Yann Arthus-Bertrand photo book will undoubtedly land heavily on the right big toe and man, culture is heavy.

Cleaning the basement also brought back to light an amount of things I had absolutely no memory of: did I really buy this book? It could be some early form of dementia. Or that frightful feeling I’ve had very often about my past becoming blurry and uneventful, so I started forgetting many things such as books I read or movie I watched. Most likely, however, it’s mum hiding again her unwanted books in between my own, relying on the fact I will not spot them and that, if I ever did, I will eventually keep them. She might deny it, but I’m pretty sure I never bought a book on how to use a steam cooker, or the 101 ways to cook with a microwave.

I threw away a lot of “stuff” this afternoon and that’s a big achievement for me. Throwing things away is not something to be taken for granted in my family: I have somehow inherited the “you never know” attitude to life my grandparents passed over to their children. You don’t throw away things because you never know when they could be handy again. It's a concept comes from a time when my family had not much to begin with and later on eradicated itself on the notion that you can't take anything for granted and have to appreciate the notion of owning something: it's a privilege people in the family didn't have in the past and you might loose in the future, so better enjoy and value things now, with an eye to the possible bad times in the future.

This is how a useful-only-hoarding cross-generational hoarding habit has begun and it kept flourishing with no crisis on the horizon to slow it down. So, for example, that box we used back in 1995 to move to the by-then new apartment… why throw it away? Let’s keep it, almost empty, in Virgi’s basement. So if for any reason a 3rd world war break out and we need to move away but the moving company has no boxes to give us, we still have this old battered box: we can use it to take with us the microwave cookbook, the coffee cups gifted to us by somebody that clearly hated us and an incredible number of small cubes of styrofoam; one never knows when all of this could come in handy again. Oops, too late for that: we will need a different box in the event of a unexpected move due to international warfare landing at our doorstep.

It's a dear to transcend
Everyone here, at the end
I don't care anymore
You never know