18 July 2002

Viva La Vida Loca

Living the Latin Life just might kill me.

It's summer. It's hot (well, excepting this weird coolish rainy spell right now). Air conditioning is not a normal thing here (Actually, I laugh my fool ass off at the Italian "Air Conditioning and/or sudden changes in the temperature of your immediate environment will make you sick" phobia) Discos here in bella Roma have closed up for the summer and moved outdoors to the beach, which means unless you have a car (or in our case, feeling lazy and not wanting to drive 30 minutes out of town), your partying options in the center are more limited than normal. Which brings us to the notorious "after-afer hours locale."

Here, much like Barcelona or Madrid or Lisboa (or Praga after many cheap shots of absinthe), you can shake your groove thang until 7 or 8 am. Not an uncommon thing in summer, as we've shut down many a disco while watching the sun start to break over the horizon. But these after hours spots are the equivalent of the last petrol-and-water station before crossing the Sahara. Ok, not the most apt metaphor; more like a we-don't-feel-like-going-to-sleep-but-neither-do-we-feel-like-dressing-up-and-hitting-the-trendy-spots type place. And once again, I found myself flashing my legally required membership card (weird laws abound here in Rome) at the door of our "regular" after hours bar last night.

It's a dive. With Crappy music (and I do mean with a capital C). And so we start slugging back the vodka and Red Bulls (evil evil brew. Liquid crack. And just as bloody addictive. Also known as my alcoholic Waterloo.). It makes hearing the latest Eminem single for the nth to the nth power time almost enjoyable. After the latest hits according to MTV Italia parade has been dutifully trotted out, the DJ pulls out the perennial hoary chestnut Italian crowd pleasers: la musica latina americana. Olè! Seeing as one of my girl friends abhors anything smacking of salsa or samba, I don't heistate at the opportunity to shimmy my shoulders and swivel my hips. Questo è l'ombelico del mondo e noi stiamo già ballando

This has the unfortunate result of attracting males who want to dance with me. Most of the time I manage to somewhat conceal my ex-ballet snobbery at the 90% percent of the male species who think they've got rhythm when in fact an epileptic with the DTs could keep better time with the music. But when it comes to Latin music, the snob in me comes out full force. Because there is nothing more blasphemous (and, in instances, hazardous to my feet and general health) than a guy who thinks he can salsa when in reality the best he can do is open a jar of the foodstuff. If you can't keep up with my hips, I'll laugh in your face. And J.Lo's got nothing on me, tesoro. *snaps fingers and flips hair over shoulder*

Closing time always comes as a nasty unexpected surprise ("Porco Dio, didn't we just get here?"). We stumble out into the street, squinting our smoke-irritated eyes at the sun and cursing the lack of sunglasses on our persons. Later in the day, we all sit around work pallid faced, drinking large amounts of cappucino freddo, water, fruit juice, and slowly eating large amounts of carbohydrates. We swear never to do it again, our livers can't take it, we need our beauty sleep. Never again. We swear.

Well, at least not for the next 24 hours...

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