Monday, April 16, 2012


Well, assuming that all went well on the flight over, by the time you’re reading this I’ll be in sunny showery Italy.

If the wi-fi in the apartment we rented comes through, I will be posting this week about our Roman holiday.

If not, Pink Slip will return next Monday.

First off, this is a great week to be out of Boston, when the “small h” hoopla that attends every running of the August Boston Marathon will be compounded by the relentless capital H-O-O-P-L-A HOOPLA surrounding the 100th anniversary of what we are relentlessly told is America’s Most Beloved Ballpark.

While I’m sure that the folks of Wrigley-ville, and maybe even the Bronx, might give us an argument here, Fenway Park is generally beloved by The True Baseball Fans of Boston. So what if I just paid nearly $400 for six seats in the right-field grandstands without reading the fine print, only to discover that all six seats have obstructed views that will prevent us from seeing the pitcher and/or catcher?

No pitcher? No catcher? No break on the price?

What of it?

I’ve had obstructed views before, and the roars of the crowd will tell us everything we need to know.

Perhaps by August it will be more groans and boos than roars and Sweet Caroline, if our boyos of summer continue the the disappointing play that rendered last season a disaster of Titanic proportions.  And even if by game time the Red Sox are 50 games out of first, we’ll be in America’s Most Beloved Ballpark, resisting the urge to buy a 100th Anniversary of Fenway commemorative tee-shirt from one of the many souvenir stands available, not one of which are obstructed from view.

In any case, the Red Sox dismal start to this season may take some of the zest out of this week’s HOOPLA.

Still, I won’t be sorry to have missed it.

Plus, we’ll be in Rome, which we last visited 14 years ago. So it’s time.

This time, we have our nieces in tow, and – showery weather and all – it’s always interesting to revisit a place you’ve been a few times and see it at least partially through the eyes of those who are beholding it for the first time.

We have rented an apartment near the Spanish Steps, so we’ll be in the heart of things, and the girls will have a lot of opportunities for window shopping. I hope there’s a break in the weather, so we can sit out in a café  - girls at a separate table pretending that they’re on their own.

Other than tickets to the Sistine Chapel, we have no concrete plans.

Of course, the best thing to do in Rome is just wander around and stumble across things. Like a Bernini Fountain. Or the Pantheon. Or the ghastly monument to Victor Emmanuel. (Okay, even in Rome it’s all not good.)

As long as we don’t get winged by a Vespa while we’re gawping at all the cool stuff…

We found our apartment on line, from the same place we arranged for places in Galway (2011) and Paris (2010). There’s an interesting and telling bit surrounding this rental. We had paid the initial deposit through Pay Pal, but were asked to pay the remainder in cash so that the apartment owner could avoid paying taxes.

Now if this had been a request made in the US, I would have insisted on paying through Pay Pal, rather than aid and abet a weaseling scofflaw. Ah, when in Roma… We just shrugged.

But is it any wonder that their economy is falling apart? Italy is in by no means the worst shape of the PIIGS, but if it tumbles and takes down the rest of the world with it, I guess we’ll be partially to blame.

Ciao for now.

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