Friday, April 21, 2017

Tupac on the train to altopascio


This week has been to stress what The Real Housewives of New York has been to botox, if you follow me.

Last Easter when I just wanted to relax, our neighbor who smokes like a chimney and is maybe 60 years old asked me if I would do an energy treatment on her arm when she saw me in the stairway. I forgot then and there that she usually asks me because her back hurts. She has a swishy Lucchese accent when she speaks, and I don't understand every word. We made an appointment for later in the afternoon. Then T turned to me and said, you know she is afraid she is having a heart attack, right? So I ran down the stairs after her and told her that I would not do an energy treatment for her and that she should go to the hospital. She got mad and stormed off. My brain would not stop replaying the Red Cross CPR videos they make you watch for a certification in first aid where the heart attack patient is always grumpy and in denial before they hit the floor. I could not relax for the next few hours, and so I went to knock on her door. When she opened the door, she smiled at me like she was on drugs and told me she felt all better. That set the tone for the week which was a shit show.

I can not even tell you how many hours I spent on the phone messaging and pleading with Emmanuel's lawyer who, in the hours leading up to our big appointment at the police station, told me he was too busy to do the paperwork, and that, according to him, we had agreed it would be done for the day after. This is nonsense as the entire chain of messages on my Whatsapp account will prove that I had always said we needed him to send the documents in by Thursday. What could I do? Thursday night I woke up at two in the morning in a full on body sweat with heart palpitations. We got up at dawn and F dropped me off at the police station before work. I like to stand at the front door and guard my spot, but Emmanuel insisted that we hang out with the African dudes he knew in the parking lot because they respect the order in which they arrived. I greeted them in Nigerian pidgin English and they looked bemused at me. I played a song for Emmanuel on my cell phone and he had me listen to one half of his headphones because he wanted to play me some of his Tupac. However, at the door was a Caucasian family, maybe Romanian, and when more people who weren't African showed up I told him to come with me to the door to stake out claim on a place. The other African guys stayed out where they were, but Emmanuel saw there was no use fighting me. When I got to the door I started playing peek-a-boo with the Romanian baby. I did not read the sign on the door. I perked up when I saw the bald, grumpy immigration agent arriving for work. He barked at me, the station is closed on Fridays. There is a sign right there on the door. What is wrong with you people?

Great. All that for nothing, and the guy thinks I am illiterate. I had psyched myself up to protest at the front window. My fantasy including leading a chant of the people waiting, chaining myself to the front with a bicycle lock, and crying and fainting, if all else failed. So my adrenalin levels were fairly high and so was the free fall upon hearing the bad news. Here is a photo of Emmanuel and me on the train home, listening to Tupac and someone called Two Face. I gave Emmanuel the bread F made for the police officers and some Easter chocolate from T's English professor to share with his roommate Ali whose ribs stick out. When I got home, I called the chef and explained that this process is killing me. I told him that it physically hurts me to be late with anything because I am the daughter of a psychologist. He laughed and said he would give Emmanuel until next Thursday and that he was onboard and committed to helping him, too. That is a relief. Tomorrow we will see if we can convince a shady lady in Viareggio that my ex-fitness student found to sign a hospitality letter for Emmanuel if he pays 300 euro a month to sleep on her floor and use her bathroom.

All this is going on while I am in full perimenopause and have every symptom that is described on the internet including everything from tits five times their normal size, swelling in all my limbs, migraine headaches, and erratic cycles. Courtney and I have decided to take Tina and Jennifer to the Mary J Blige concert at the Lucca Summer Festival in July. Jennifer had to be convinced to let Cool babysit Wisdom, so even buying her 75 euro concert tickets is a pain in my ass. My fantasy there is that Mary would take a selfie with them and that it would get our group some press and some help. Courtney wants us to hold up a giant sheet, inviting Mary to a gluten free dinner for her crew after the concert. We are officially the Ethel and Lucy of refugee activism.

Emmanuel called to make sure I got off the train at the right stop. Just so you know. 

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