Sunday, November 04, 2007

A Texan in Italy - 17 Curious Days - Day 4 Part 3

Over the next several days I will be telling you about my recent challenging, weird and wonderful 17 days in Italy. However, in the peculiar world of blogging that means the first story is on the bottom! So, if you want to begin at the first, go to the bottom. This is Day 4 - Part 3.

Day 4 - September 6, 2007; Part 3

“Seven, my God! You’re getting blood all over the pillow and sheets. Get up so I can get that stuff in the washing machine.” BEG is a stickler for taking care of things like linens, still I wondered why she wasn’t interested in what happened. Dutifully, I got up out of the bed. I stared at the small clock on the nightstand. I had been asleep about 2 hours. “Why didn’t you put a band-aid on that cut before you went to sleep? I sure hope all this comes out”, she added in exasperation. I silently wondered where the hell I was supposed to get a band-aid without any luggage, not to mention I was afraid I was fainting again while wearing only a towel. I kept my distance amid the flurry of BEG’s elbows and the popping corners of sheets as they flew off my bed. “By the way, I came in here to tell you Stephanie, Jackie and I are going down to the beach. You need to be more careful with your razor, that’s an ugly cut. Did it hurt? It makes my knees weak to look at that. Anyway, I’ll see you later, Stephanie and Bob are cooking dinner in their apartment tonight.” She smacked my butt playfully as if all was quickly forgiven. The last thing I saw was the corner of a sheet get hung in the door as it closed. Just as quickly the door opened a crack, the corner was extracted, the door slammed, and I stood in the room alone staring at a bed that was as naked as I was. We matched. The bed and Seven were both starkers. I was marked with dried blood but the mattress had escaped that fate. I got dressed in a stupor, vaguely understanding I had been scolded and left alone in the room like a bad puppy. I couldn’t blame her. Less dramatic company probably seemed more palatable to brown eyed girl after the last 4 days with me.

The apartment was quiet. I guessed correctly that Charlie was asleep in his bedroom. I decided to pursue our luggage. BEG had begun wearing Stephanie’s clothes on loan. We expected our luggage issue would be handled in 2-3 days since that seemed to be the norm for everyone at the meet. Just for the record, lots of luggage was misplaced by airlines on the way to Bologna. Nearly all of it arrived the next day. I believed I would end up belonging to the majority. We were in day 4 without luggage and I wanted to check with the Fedora fully believing I would find our luggage had been delivered. I dressed in the same blue shirt and green Dockers I had been wearing for 4 days. I walked out into a gorgeous afternoon to collect my luggage. When I arrived the lovely Christina was not working at the desk. The front desk attendant was an Italian woman around 45 years of age. She had sharp features that resembled the hard chiseled look of Renaissance sculptures. She owned dark black hair and was adorned with large hoop earrings made from bright red ceramic. She made an elegant appearance until she talked, revealing a mouth of jagged teeth separated by black voids where other teeth had once been located. She stared solemnly at a man that wore too tired eyes and wrinkled clothes; a man that had a fresh cut on the front crown of his shaved head. We were not made for one another.

“Hi, I was here talking to Christina about my luggage yesterday, and I was just wondering,” I began before I was cut off.

“Attenda un minuto che non posso parlare affatto inglese,” she answered.

I raised my hands in the palms up traditional signal of ‘I don’t understand.’

“Il sir I vi ha detto appena che non parlassi inglese.”

She raised her hand in the stop signal before I could speak louder English. She motioned with her finger in the ‘come with me’ signal. I followed her across the lobby while I reflected on how early man developed language. I assume they began with the same simple gestures that were occurring between the lady with the red hoops and the tired traveler. For example, one caveman holding his finger to his lips for quiet during a critical part of the football game. It surely was cavewoman that started talking first, necessitating the fingers to the lips to begin with. The men were probably fine with hand gestures that meant ‘give me the remote’ or ‘where is this or that?’ which is all we usually need to communicate. The red hooped lady was taking me to a man of about 35 years of age that seemed to be the general manager. He spoke English. Kind of.

“Hi, I was here talking to Christina about my luggage yesterday, and I was just wondering…” I began before I was cut off.

“Ah, si, yes senor, si, I have seen you on day before this day now. Your bagaglio did come maybe?”

It did! My luggage is here? I asked. This brought a very sad expression to his face reminding me of the power of non-verbal signals. I would become accustomed to the sad face and slow negative shake of his head. He resembled a sad clown with no make-up when he was confirming ‘no luggage’ for me.

"No, no senor. We will make call for Bologna Airport to see for your…ummm how you say bagaglio?" His face lit up like a halogen lamp when he quickly remembered the word for bagaglio was luggage. “Luggage!” he shouted out happily.

“Will you call now?” I asked.

"Ah, si, we will make by telephony a time for your luggage to be sent on a time they are aperto” he reported back with a broad smile. He didn’t move. He seemed satisfied our mission had been accomplished. I shrugged and headed off to a phone booth to call KLM Airlines.

I had discovered that a phone booth stood along the main avenue between the apartment and the Hotel Fedora. The booth did not have a door so I was destined to talk on the phone with a finger crammed deep into my ear as a never ending flow of traffic moved down the avenue. I had bought time on an international phone card before leaving home. This caused the need to dial the 10 digit ‘password’ number for the card, followed by the country code then the actual phone number of the party I was trying to reach. That meant a string of 21 numbers each time I made a call. I couldn’t really memorize all 21 numbers which meant trying to hold a piece of paper plus the phone receiver in my left hand since my right hand index finger was stuck in my ear as if to signal a suicide was imminent. I clumsily called the Bolgona Airport number for lost KLM luggage. No answer. I tried 3 times thinking I might have incorrectly dialed the number. Never an answer. I decided I would try later.

I left the booth and headed back to the apartment. Tomorrow would bring a semi-final race in the 100 meters. I craved rest and food and desperately needed to wash my clothes. On the way to the apartment I was intercepted by the ladies returning from the beach. BEG was beaming from ear to ear and telling me about the photos she had taken and the people she had seen. She asked sweetly if the hotel had our luggage. I stared vacantly toward the ocean. I was beginning to have a very bad feeling about the luggage. I had developed a recurring vision inside my head. In the vision our luggage is riding around and around a carousel in Houston. Thousands of travelers come and go, extracting bags and going on their way while an olive green and black suitcase move in an endless circle like unwanted orphans.

The vision was near clairvoyant. I just didn't know it as I stared at the ocean.

Photo 1 - The Riccione Beach by Brown Eyed Girl.
Photo 2 - Left to Right - Charles Allie, Jackie Allie, Bill Collins, Stephanie Collins, Bob Cozens, Seven


kathi said...

I know this is going to turn out okay, I mean I know they didn't have to care flight you home to Dallas, but still I'm worried for you. Hate it when that happens. :)
I wish you'd just layed yourself back down, sans sheets if must be, and got yourself some rest.

kathi said...

Sorry, I forgot to mention how much I love BEG's picture of the beach, what a great shot.
And, thank her for giving us another great picture of you with your team mates. I like being able to put faces with your story.

Seven said...

Kid Bratcher,
You're welcome and again so right. It is one of many great photos she took and my friends are truly beautiful people.

Enemy of the Republic said...

Which one is you again?

Lynilu said...

I'm wondering if I should continue to read this. I mean, I'm traveling and if the bad luck should wear off on me via internet . . . . .

OK, I probably don't have to worry. I'm not flying, so chances of lost luggage is minimal; I'm not overseas, so language is no problem; I'm getting plenty of sleep and not having to exert my physical energies; and I don't shave my head. No, I'm alright.

Bring on the next chapter!!

PS - Yes, the pix add a lot to the story, and it makes the people easier to remember now having their faces. Thanks, BEG!!

Seven said...

Silver Lovely,
I don't think there is any proven link regarding bad luck running through internet connections. If you began to hang out with me there might be some residual effect, but for now I think you will be OK. Travel safe.