Public transport sucks. I don't care where you are, unless you live in the Rome of 2000 years ago and have muscley slaves clad in loin cloths to hoist you onto their shoulders and carry you aloft through the streets, using buses and underground trains is simply rank.
Which is why I invested in a bicycle. Arriving at work sweating with my T-shirt sticking to me and piss-wet through (whether or not it had been raining) the discomfort was secondary to the satisfaction of being able to say that it was my choice I was in that state and not Rome's ATAC company.
Then, just after Easter I come out of the flat layered up in reflective gear and a helmet like a dayglo gladiator, only to find that some cunt had jacked my wheels.
Two weeks later, back on the buses and trains and my temper was beginning to fray. Noone's fault really (except the person who designed the things with a lack of foresight as to how overcrowded they would become) but sooner or later I was going to end up lamping someone.
Final straw came when the geniuses at travel control command central closed off parts of Rome's Termini station for "essential improvements" meaning the interchange for lines A and B went overnight from a relatively organised yet busy hub of people to a struggling, grunting mess of comers and goers, with no barriers to separate the opposing flows of traffic.
Security personnel have been employed to assist the rush hour public along the routes and while most are able to deal with simply standing there amongst the heaving throng, barking directions, one or two actually physically push people along when it isn't necessary as if they're sheep being led to market (and are invariably having a conversation with each other while ignoring the folk they're shoving).
One tried it with me so I simply slapped his hand away. Cue lots of mumbling and "what's your problem?" while I counted to 10 and secretly hoped he would actually follow me.
At 39 I have no desire to be squabbling with the proles so I posted an ad on Couchsurfing.org asking nicely if anyone had a motor scooter they could "hire" me for my remaining 5 weeks in the eternal city or (and I only added this as a throwaway line thinking "don't ask don't get") that maybe some nice chap or chapess could LEND me one for free).
Two days later some guy I'd never met posted that he had an old motorbike that he was more than happy for me to borrow and I could come round and look the next day if I liked.
Not quite believing my luck I mooched over there and found him outside the flat giving a 100cc scooter a final wipe with a damp cloth. He introduced himself as Michele and after a brief chat he gave me the keys, documents and insurance certificate and reminded me not to drive it until I'd picked up a helmet. I looked at him and went "you seriously don't want anything for this?" and he replied
"No. I believe in people. You do a favour for someone one day".
Only downside is that as my head is big the helmet is XL and I look a guy we used to call Skateboard at college in the 1980s. He had mental issues, fell over a lot (hence the helmet) and pissed himself regularly.
May 1st 2010 was the annual free concert in Rome and like last year my pal Eduardo held a cracking house party with lots of wine and food. As I live in St. Giovanni where the concert is held I had no choice but to attend so parked my new scooter outside the exclusion zone on the Friday and walked to his house around lunch time Saturday. Took over an hour and I arrived thinking I would walk into a packed house. True to Italian punctuality I was the first and got my pick of wine and munchies for about 5 mins until the others turned up.
I could tell it was gearing up for a big day when I got into a conversation with some posh English kid called Tristan and accidentally called him Sebastian. I said "oh sorry, another toff's name" and he went
"Actually my brother's called Sebastian".
Cue much piss taking about him being a privileged git and deliberately dressing down when his parents are minted.
Then a very yummy Greek girl turned up with her boyfriend. After a long chat I pointed out that her top kept slipping revealing her shoulder and the frilly purple bra she was wearing. She murmured that she didn't mind and her boyfriend thanked me for pointing it out but then yanked it down and said he didn't care. After more wine I asked him if he was into swinging and while I couldn't provide a partner I would just love to snog his bird. He said no problem provided I kissed him as well. So a snog in the corridor with him, followed by pushing her up against the wall and kissing her while pulling down the loose shoulder strap again. Later on I suggested they both come back to my place and we all had sex to which they said they'd see. I bumped into her later at the concert and tried to kiss her again but she murmured "not without my boyfriend here to watch".
There are apparently photos of this but only of my "taking one for the team" tongues with him as she was the one filming.
Didn't see them again but they both friended me on Facebook so the future beckons.
At the private school I teach at I have a very yummy 18 year old student. She is what you could call "diminutive" (ie. very short) but very pretty. While chatting on Facebook last week I was calling her a dwarf and she said "do you think that I, as a she-dwarf have nice boobs?".
I replied "do you honestly expect me to answer that sober?" and she told me she would ask me on May 1st at the concert.
She did when I was practically paralytic and I replied "yes".
Still, she's a BLILF and it was an honest answer so my conscience is clear.
Another female student aged 20 in another group sits directly opposite me in class and as it's a small group I am sitting for 75% of the lesson facing the group. Where she sat never had any significance to me until last week when she turned up in a summer dress. She was in her usual position and as the lesson is two and a half hours I spent a very pleasant time watching her cross and uncross her smooth, long legs and kept praying that I would be able to find a way to bend down and look at her knickers without making it glaringly obvious what I was doing. Today it rained so she turned up in jeans but I'm hoping that next week it'll be so hot she is in a maxi-skirt and going commando.
A few days later my boss was in the staff room discussing personal grooming. She enquired as to why anyone would want to shave their genitals and I replied that I do.
She made the fatal mistake of then asking me why I do that and I replied "so any bird that goes down on me doesn't choke on my pubes. Nothing more libido-killing than hearing some girl choking on a hair stuck in her throat".
I then mimed the gagging and coughing noises.
She is usually quite hardy in the face of my inappropriate diatribes yet slapped me on the arm so hard it stung and stormed out seething "YOU REALLY ARE UTTERLY VILE AREN'T YOU?!!"
Five minutes later she was smoking a cigarette on the balcony and another teacher came in. She stuck her head back in and went "No seriously Lance, you really are utterly disgusting" then looked at our colleague and went "shall I tell you what he just said to me?...Actually I'm not going to tell you!!!"
Some things the Italians do is to be a little more candid with their advertising than the Brits are. All-Bran in England is advertised as "keeping you healthy on the inside" whereas over here the box simply says "keeping you regular", which is honest for a breakfast cereal whose sole purpose in life is to make you shit more often. Also the hybrid Cornflakes/ All Bran combo is called "Nice Morning" over here. How stinking out the bog at 6.30am so anyone coming in after you needs to take a canary in a cage in with them, amounts to a nice morning for anyone except scat perverts remains a mystery to me.
Last Friday I went for drinkies in Trastevere with some pals from Couchsurfing and met a very cute Mexican girl who loved strong beer as much as me. I got off with her later in the evening and took her home. She insisted on walking there (which sober would take an hour, pissed about 2) and later said this was to "spend less time" at my house as she was determined to keep her pants on. She lost her earrings, scarf and hair ribbon on the way back (my fault apparently for constantly pushing her up against walls and snogging her) and kept her word by sleeping in her jeans. Following day we went out to an area of Rome called Pigneto with some pals and I found out that a small bar did triple vodkas and lime for 5 Euros. Four of them and I was in heaven and the next day my new Mexican friend enquired "what pleasure do you get out of drinking so much that you can't walk or speak properly?".
I replied "have to ask, will never know".