We had a good lunch here one day. We haven’t yet had a bad meal in a restaurant in Rome, although some are better, a few are superior. That’s my first consideration of Rome — people eat well here, people value food and the time for eating. (As an aside, I have gained about 5 kilos since we arrived, putting back all the weight I lost in Mexico City.)
But, you know, what can you say about Rome, really. That’s at all new. Rome is probably one of the 5 top most written about cities on the planet. How do you write anything about Rome without tumbling into a pasta pot of cliches?
Everything you know or have heard about Rome is true.
This is what I like, so far: Food and wine, being surrounded by really, really old stuff, and the weather, sort of.
This is what irritates the crap out of me: The pure and unadulterated and never-ending chaos (quite a lot of which seems almost manufactured, as if appealing to some notion that it’s in the culture to have everything fucked up, whether or not it’s natural or necessary. Really. You get the idea that if a moment of calm or tranquility works its way to the surface of daily life, Romans will stomp it to death in a cacophony of mad gesturing and incoherent shouting — how dare you allow such a thing! The poverty you see everywhere, a lot of people are very poor here (causing me to wonder where they live, with rents at obscene levels). Romans live in a selfie bubble. They do not see you unless you have failed to get out of their way, causing them to crash into you. But I suppose this is understandable. Romans live smack dab in the middle of an antiquities Disneyland, a theme park of old shit, and throngs of camera-faced, gawking, oblivious tourists would make anyone myopic.
Living here is exhausting. Rome is for the young and energetic. It is wearing me out.