Thursday, March 24, 2011

Out of Control In Rome

After some grueling flights, a bit of time waiting on a bus for our other groups to arrive, and a brief visit to the seaside town of Ostia, where Carnivale was in full tilt (which includes parades and adorable children everywhere dressed up in costumes the way we do for Halloween), arriving at the hotel to a chaotic room sorting out debacle in Rome, my daughter and I commented from time to time, "I'm glad Dad's not here."

We weren't being mean, it's just that this kind of travel means maintaining a cheerful disposition while embracing the chaos and relinquishing control. Things most men aren't great at. For a man whose gift is administration, attention to detail, and organization, the kind of flexibility required is especially difficult. I'm not telling you anything he wouldn't say himself.

Since we've returned home, he has occasionally commented while listening to us recounting parts of our trip, "I wouldn't have liked that."

"Yes, Dear. We know."

After dinner, completely exhausted, we returned to our tiny but charming room and collapsed into bed. About 2:00 AM I was awakened by loud noises, shouting, and the sound of people rearranging furniture, or air conditioning units coming from the roof. Or maybe Godzilla and Mothra were fighting out some Apocalyptic battle up there.  I sat straight up in bed.

"It started about ten minutes ago." my daughter said in the dark.

"What are they doing?"

"I can't tell. A party, maybe?"

"Can you imagine if your dad was here?"

We broke into hysterical laughter by the light of the moon through the open window. We imagined him trying to find someone to call to complain and all the colorful commentary that would ensue. He, we knew, would not be laughing. We carried on this way for a few minutes. I shut the window to drown out the noise and we fell back asleep very amused with ourselves.

Those comments were repeated from time to time when there were early wake up calls, rushing from one tourist stop to another, and because our trip doubled in size due to trouble in Egypt, at times having 4 women in one room. At one point there was 1 semi-clean communal towel.

A sense of humor in such situations is not a luxury, but a necessity.

But these little hardships become woven into the tapestry of travel memories, and enrich them. For all my husband's desire for smooth sailing one of his favorite stories is a hostile hostel experience in New Orleans on New Years Ever many years ago. He loves to tell it because it is funny. What kind of story is --We got there everything was perfect, the weather was beautiful, etc?

A boring one.

Four women and one bathroom...did I mention that?

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