Monday, March 20, 2017

Maximum Caffeination Achieved 

We went to a surprise birthday party for my friend Francesca last night. It was stressful because I was convinced that we would not find the pizza place, or get there in time, or that I would be forced to use a knife and fork the Lucca way which causes me to renounce my proud NY heritage and bring scorn from my people, or ruin the surprise in any of a myriad of ways. We sat in the car outside the restaurant for 25 minutes. I blame the fact that my mother is a therapist and I am not wired to be late to anything. It was also stressful because I have to fight to eat small portions while very passionate people try to force things that are so fried and fattening into me that just seeing the grease soaked paper cone of appetizers, my thighs whimpered and tried to hide themselves from potential future damage. We got home late.

I was distracted through the whole party, whose theme was childhood illnesses and cats, because I knew all the while that this morning was the meeting with the chef. We ended up being early enough for me to beg the use of a bathroom at a nearby bar (because I had already drank a cup of coffee and an enormous mug of green tea) and early enough even to sit in the car for fifteen minutes before the scheduled appointment time. We came to find out from the chef's sister that we were, indeed, in the wrong location. I was almost relieved because, as you know by now, for something to go right in Italy, something first has to go wrong. We left the sister with a loaf of F's homemade rosemary and salt sourdough loaf, and took the gorgonzola one on to the chef. We eventually (17 sweaty minutes and one panicked phone call later) met with the chef who had a lovely Babbo Natale twinkle in his eyes and who mistakenly thought I had said that I wanted coffee. He chugged his espresso down in one gulp, so I did the same. Flash forwards to me speaking the fastest Italian that I have ever spoken in my life due to a caffeine-fueled, heart thumping, energy surge. F looked fearful of me. At the end, the chef said he would considering hiring all three guys, but he has to speak to his accountant first. He is a Michelin star chef and his gourmet store is really impressive. Emmanuel's lawyer says that if the chef were to write a letter with his intent to hire, Emmanuel's legal situation could be resolved. And what a great New York Times article that would make! I'll try not to get ahead of myself. Although, it is hard not to think about the fact that I would have to come up with housing for three families in Camaiore, it they do even get the jobs, not knowing if they would keep the jobs or if the restaurant will do good business. Whatever, I believe in young Santa Claus. 


When we got home, a different accountant called. The one from the fancy gym. When he said the court case on Wednesday was cancelled, I thought he was punking me. I pointed out that I could not take his word for it because it could cost me a thousand euros in fines. He told me to call INPS the Italian tax office which sought legal recourse. I eventually tracked down the lawyer on the case who told me that I should get a telegram; but that if I don't get it in time, it would still be useless of me to make an appearance. I trust no one and have a tremendous Amanda Knox complex, so I have come up with several caffeine infused plans from taking selfies in front of the court -just in case!- to my sensible friend Ian's plan of requesting an email from the lawyer that excuses me. Then I spoke with F's student, and Lucca being the most incestuous place on earth, we think that his mother is the judge. Take that fancy gym! Meanwhile, I cancelled my lessons that day, so I feel like the universe is happy with me, and things might be taking a turn for the better. But that could also be the caffeine talking.

and this is me without caffeine ... so you do the math! 

 I also got word for Tina of when she could go to the food bank at Caritas to get some baby formula for Peace who is out of it. Tina was worried about communication issues, but Peace chatted for five minutes straight while we were working out the details; so, in the end, we laughingly agreed to let Peace do all the talking.

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