It’s been a long time since the state of my body bothered me, but all this walking and nightly pain has reminded me just how messed up my body is. I watch everyone around me get through the day with ease or wake up in the morning with nothing more than a hangover and am reminded about just how broken I am. Staying in hostels I keep meeting young people doing the grand European tour and it reminds me that I would have done it too, if not for one man’s decision.
But I’m managing, barely. Hostel life is very interesting. I came back from the day at the Coliseum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and Spanish Steps at around 6:30 p.m. to a dark room full of nappers. I had three new roommates. I met Erika and Aimee who are from Minnesota and studying in London. I didn’t meet Gabriella from Brazil until the next day. I went out to dinner down the street and tried Saltambanco, veal with proscuitto in gravy, it was fine, but now I don’t have to have it again and then I returned to the hostel to hang out.
My new roommates Erika and Aimee had gotten up and Erika was dressed to the nines. I hung out with my roommate Rebecca and the two Australians I had met Pam and Cam and the bartender, who was also from Australia – Adrian. Rebecca and I had planned full days for the next day so we headed to bed around 11:00 p.m. As I was limping out through the reception, a tall rugged, dirty blond, turned and said, “What did you do?” “I was run over by a car when I was 20,” I replied with a smile. I introduced myself and learned that his name was Quinn and then headed up to bed, but sleep was elusive that night.
I had just dozed off to sleep when the door opened and Erika (who will from now on be referred to as drunk girl) stumbled in. She tried to use the ladder up to her bed and fell off. So then she just climbed up, fully clothed, in a brown dress and got into bed. We settled in to go back to sleep and drunk girl started snoring. After we finished complaining about that there was a commotion in the hall, slamming of doors, and someone using the F word as an adjective, noun, verb and conjunction. I thought it was a fight so I got out of bed to see if I could help, and was confronted with an Indian guy. I said, “What’s going on?” He said, “I don’t know.” So I went downstairs and the receptionist Jamie told me it was a lover’s quarrel.
Rebecca and I were reciting our litany of issues that night including drunk girl when Jamie told us that she had come on to every single guy in the bar. One of the guys had been nice enough to walk here up to the room, but that explains the whining we heard outside the door, drunk girl didn’t want to sleep alone and was trying to prolong her interaction with the male species that had been kind enough to ensure she got her drunk ass to bed. I might be more forgiving had it just been the falling out of bed, but she snored and not lightly I might add. When the time came to get up the next morning Rebecca and I had gotten maybe four hours of sleep. Rebecca turned on the lights, after all if people are going to be inconsiderate of you, why should you be considerate of them. As Rebecca was organizing her suitcase, she is a neat freak; drunk girl got up and went to the bathroom. She was still drunk, on her attempt to get into bed again that morning she fell out. She giggled, “I fell out of bed.” Rebecca, a short, curvy, red-head, looked at her in total disgust. “Do you know you fell out of bed last night?” she asked. “I did not,” drunk girl protested. “Yes you did!” Rebecca insisted. “Also you snored all last night.” Drunk girl denied it all like a practiced alcoholic denies his drinking. I just hid under my covers.
Leaving drunk girl and the other two sleeping roommates to their dreams, Rebecca and I went across the street for eggs and bacon. I was headed to Trastevere, a picturesque medieval neighborhood characterized by a quirky Bohemian atmosphere, and Rebecca was going to meet me there later to check out this Pizza joint I read about. When I got there it was pouring so I took refuge in a church. After the downpour stopped I walked around the neighborhood, checked out the local market and finally ensconced myself in a coffee shop and read for a couple of hours. I met Rebecca and we spent about an hour searching for the pizza place which was touted by some magazine as the “best pizza in Rome.” When we finally found it they weren’t serving pizza for lunch and the waiter actually told us where to find the best pizza in Rome. I had great Lasagna though. If I go back I won’t spend time looking for restaurants because almost anywhere you sit down has good food. From there Rebecca and I went back to the Hostel, Rebecca went to look for a hotel because there was “no way in hell she was spending another night with drunk girl.” I took a nap.
That evening I limped across the street bought pizza and then sat down in the common room of the hostel. Quinn was there with his traveling companions Jared, his 22 year-old brother and Wills, sweat 18 year-old from Australia. I spent the evening watch the brothers, Jared and Quinn check out and flirt with every girl in the room. In between watching the brothers search and conquer mission, I talked with the people around me. Wills and I talked about his travel and we were both astonished at how quickly the people we met could see things. At the hostel, people would come back with a list of the places that they had seen that day and I was astounded that they could see so much in one day. When I expressed this to Wills he said, that he had told the brothers that he was going to do Rome on his own because the brothers went through everything so quickly. Wills and I both need more time. I also met Anna from Spain and a bunch of other people. The brothers were getting a bunch of people together to go out and every so often they would get up walk around the room, stop and flirt with some girls and then join other girls to invite us at our table. Both of them ended up in conversations with drunk girl. Quinn sat down I gave him the eyeball and I said, “That’s your sure thing.” He said, “No shit!” But I think he wanted more of a challenge. Currently both the brothers are fire fighters they work the summer season in California, Quinn wants to be an environmental engineer, right now Jared is working on being Casanova. All three of them were very nice and funny. They made me laugh. I left them downstairs partying at around midnight.
As I watched the 20-somethings mill around the room, in the thrall of their tours on the continent I wondered if I had ever been that young. I don’t think I was, at their age I was dealing with doctors, medical bills, surgery and rebuilding my life. As they all encouraged me to stay up and go out with them I felt a little bit jealous and sad, sad that I had missed out.