Random Thoughts: David Sedaris; Travel, French Attitudes and Italian Food; Regularity; Life
I’ve been reading “When You Are Engulfed in Flames” by David Sedaris. I love how he makes me laugh out loud.
I wish he was my friend and I could call him up and just listen to his witty little observations of the world and his exaggerated stories of the people he runs into. We could laugh at our crazy selves and at the absurdities of the world around us.
I could use a friend like that these days. Of course it would be expensive to speak to him, all the way from the U.S. I guess I’ll have to make do with my brother Phil. He makes me laugh out loud too, and he’s just on the East Coast. He doesn’t answer his phone much though, so I have to wait for him to call me. I’m waiting Phil! It’s been, like, for-ever.
Apparently, Sedaris lives in Normandy, or did when he wrote the book. I wonder what it’s like to live in Normandy? Are the people serious and depressed because of the history of the place? Are the French serious and depressed in general? Is that why they drink so much wine? What’s it like having a real President?
I hear conflicting stories about the French from people who travel to France.
My brother Joe worked in France a few times and loved the French attitude of “If we don’t get it done today, there is always tomorrow”. I like the lassez-faire attitude also. Don’t sweat it. Life is too short for deadlines. Let’s go get drunk.
My niece just came back from a week in Paris, and reported that the people were very friendly and helpful. I can’t imagine not being a lovely person living in a city with such beautiful pastries and so much art.
But other people claim that the French are haughty, especially to Americans. My response is- who could blame them? I’m sure they are thinking “Anyone who is happy scarfing down a Big Mac and feeding their kids Chicken McNuggets must be an idiot.” I couldn’t argue with that. Especially if they are gobbling that fast food in Europe.
When I was in Italy, I was very happy. Exhausted, constipated, dehydrated, and always looking for a public restroom, but happy.
Every morning I drank a couple of perfect macchiatos and ate one or two sfogliatelle–light and fluffy yet somehow crispy pastries filled with vanilla or chocolate pastry cream. It made the stewed prunes so much more tolerable.
In the afternoons I usually had a gelato or a cannoli, sometimes both! The food was dreamy. It made up for the deprivations of drinkable tap water, free public restrooms, and regularity.
Granted, there were a few mediocre meals, usually grabbed as I was heading out to a sight I wanted to see and ducked into some nondescript side-street shop. I was hugely disappointed a time or two. Italy’s version of fast food convinced me that fast food is an oxymoron. If it’s not good in Italy, then obviously it just sucks overall.
But then there was the winery near Montepulciano that served a chick pea soup drizzled with olive oil that was so unctuous, who knew chick peas could be so delicious? And the wood fired Pizza Margarita in Perugia, recommended by our guide. The thin crust was smoky, and crispy on the bottom, but still had a soft bite beneath the judiciously applied sauce, mozarella and basil, topped with that ubiquitous and perfect drizzle of quality olive oil. And the absolute melt in your mouth roasted pork dinner in Florence or it’s sister Porchetta sandwich I ate standing in the doorway of a trattoria in Pisa, pushed up against tourists and locals huddling together under the awning during a serious cloud burst. One of the best sandwiches I ever ate. And I don’t even like meat that much.
I also noticed there weren’t a lot of obese people in Italy, even though the food portions were not skimpy, and everyone eats well. Perhaps it’s all the walking people tend to do. I certainly ate enough to gain a few pounds. But didn’t. In spite of the irregularity. Am I being too repetitive?
All in all, I think the Italians and the French have the right idea about things. Life is too short to eat bad food. Food is not something to be scarfed. It’s something to be savored.
As is good wine. And incredible art. As is life. Time is not of the essence peeps. Living is.
©2018 by Ilona Elliott