The loud voice boomed across the Piazza, ‘Roll up, roll up ladies and gentlemen, step right up’. The audience, now quietened, began to move forward with cautious steps.
The man with the black top hat beckoned them closer, ‘Don’t be afraid’. You could almost smell the stale liquor on his breath.
‘Don’t be shy, I say, do you want to hear a story?’ His voice had reduced to a mere whisper. You could almost hear a pin drop, no one breathed.
‘Do you want to hear a story?’
If I’ve got you now then I’m happy because I’ve managed to capture your attention!
Rome is a city that rarely sleeps and where the luxury of self centeredness prevails. She is a city where finding a parking spot in an overcrowded Piazza is reason for applause. I used to do this with my little girl, it’s true, and she would cry out, ‘Hooray Mamma, we got one’ and clap her hands together vigorously. Our dreams would then be crushed when out of the blue someone from a side street would nab our sacred spot like a seagull dive bombing a single chip. The search for the parking would begin again…
Rome is a city of pure indulgence juxtaposed by sheer poverty nestled in side streets. It is friendly and unfriendly at the same moment ready to snag an unsuspecting foreigner at anytime. Buy a can of coke in the heart of the historical centre and pay a fortune just because you are a tourist. Watch an Italian buy the same can of coke from the same shop and pay half your price.
This is the reality.
Ask for a mortadella sandwich and watch one slice of mortadella be placed in your bread roll. Wait for an Italian to order the same and have three or four slices stuffed inside.
I used to always say Rome is so much fun for a tourist because they are in awe of the eternal city, wandering around mouths agape unaware of the little traps being laid for them. I was once one of them…
When you come to know the idiosyncrasies of this city is when you come to wish that you were a tourist again. Try battling the overwhelming bureaucratic system and having babies in a place that is not your home.
…But… what a learning curve. Rome aches with wonder and beauty. A cornucopia of treasures awaits you even when you aren’t looking for the gold.
…What you love to write or what you love about what you have written may not appeal to the masses. They say ‘every one of us has a story within’ and if you talk to someone & tell them you are writing a book they will also tell you that they are writing one too…
So…let me leave you with this…are the writers the masses discontented by the lack of reader response or are the masses the readers discontented by what is being written…