Thursday, September 6, 2007

Pre-emptive Nostalgia

In response to Gayle's comment about it being funny the whole pre-emptive nostalgia thing, I think it is easy to have pre-emptive nostalgia in a place like Naples, like Italy, because they entire populace is always already nostalgic both for what was and what could have been. I too usually feel nostalgic for a place after having it left it some time ago, like a normal person, but a normal person one cannot be when one lives in Naples.

"Potrebbe essere" means "it could be" in Italian and it is a phrase applied to Naples as often as blond highlights are applied to dark hair in this town, i.e. constantly. Naples potrebbe essere so many things: clean, safe, thriving, like Barcelona. But it's not and they are few and far between those folks trying to make it so.

After an hour of dusty play in the Villa Comunale, La Bimba and I headed for a trattoria. We took a detour and ate instead in a place called Orange in Piazza Rodinò in the Chiaia district. There was one table for two left in the little outdoor seating area and we nabbed it. At all the other tables sat the Neapolitan jet set, very tan men and women with their Jack Russells and dachsunds stiffing around at their ankles, eating hamburgers sans bun with french fries smothered in mayonnaise and ketchup that tastes like vinegar, ever careful not to drip anything onto their Diesel leather jackets, Prada blouses or, San Gennaro forbid, into their cleavages. There were women with bottle blond hair, nose jobs, and french manicures. One young woman's entire butt was showing, not just the crack, spilling over her low rise jeans. One middle-aged guy had his white linen shirt unbuttoned to below his solar plexus. I was only disappointed he wasn't wearing a big gold crucifix...or a chai.

Speaking of chais, I saw the orthodox Jewish man with his two kids at the Villa today. He smiled at me and La Bimba when his elder son, perhaps 2 and a half?, came over and babbled at us in what sounded like Hebrew Italian. I wanted to ask him what in the name of Yahweh he was doing in Naples, but I got shy. I have seen him and his family around Piazza Santa Maria La Nova in the past, but I have never had such an open opportunity to interrogate. If I am given another chance, I won't let it pass me by.

So, back to Orange. The Orange People eating at Orange. Orange is a groovy name that has no relationship to the place or its menu. There are some orange lights, but no Orange Julius. There are wurstels but no Gray's Papaya hot dogs. The women tended to hold their faces in positions of coolness that looked like they were suffering cramps. The men flipped their Farrah hair around. They were friendly toward La Bimba. They tolerated me and my unwashed hair, my out of fashion fashion (I was wearing my Blue Dot pants, however), my lack of make-up. They probably thought I was La Bimba's Ukrainian nanny.

La Bimba rejected the eggplant parmigiana, friarielli, peppers and mushrooms, and ate only french fries with neither mayo nor ketchup. She has gotten hella (nod to the Bay Area) feisty in the last couple of days, a delayed reaction to the weaning I suppose. I might have caved in last night or this morning and let her have a swig, but I'm all dried up, not quite the grey sunken cunt of the world (sounds crude, but it's Joyce, so it's okay), but milk-free. Poor little bunny.

Now we are home, La Bimba is sleeping, I am blogging WIRELESSLY, hooray, and it is still freschetto fuori. A good day.


Marmite Breath said...

I love reading your blog, but I exclaim too much with each paragraph. Every place you mention, I have to exclaim it loudly and in a whiny voice at the same time. It is tough to do, actually. :)

Nostalgia, indeed. Reading your blog makes me nostalgic, but happy, too.

Farfallina - Roam 2 Rome said...

Ah nostalgia... it sometimes becomes my shadow and I try to shake it off :)

Congrats on the wireless blogging! it's funner this way :)

Alex said...

Chai from Naples?! I know who you are speaking about all of our kids got together yesterday to play. If you get a chance email me and I'll fill you in with details (also if your interested in some RH activities this week). Just check out my profile email!