THE LIST IS LIFE: how to survive the packing (multiplied by 4) for a trip to Laponia.

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what the hell did you mean with “bags h2o the box high”???

  This month of July is revealing full of little shocks for you. Just try not to insist on looking for a hidden meaning as you usually do, please. Because there isn´t, or anyway you will not get it now.

The kids are still at the sea, you find yourself alone in this boiling pot, finalizing the preparations for your departure on Friday. You should be methodical maybe, but you were not born that way. You compile lists which are condemned to be quickly lost or that, in the best case scenario, after two days you won´t even be able to read. As a consequence, you easily accept to do things the way of the dog´s dick.

Let´s see, then. First of all, the kids needs:

  • Provisions for breakfast / lunch / dinner / snack / momentofsuddennostalgycauseitrainsit´scoldandhereeverybodyspeaksweird. Also here is crazy, because the three of them have signed a secret agreement (you are completely sure about this) so that there isn´t any dish, ANY, that the three of them would like at the same time. They may have an excel sheet somewhere with all the possible food combinations, and they have periodical secret meetings to update the preferences, making sure that it never matches for the three of them: “Maia, I´m sorry but from now on you have to give up the mussels. You will reject them pretending nausea.” “Oh no, I like them so much”. (She cries) “Sigh, poor myself”. “I know, dear sister, also I will not be able to eat pasta al pesto, which I love… but this is a sacrifice that needs to be done. You don´t wanna make Mum and Dad´s life easy, do you?”. (Looking at the sky with tears) “No, I would NEVER do that!” (They hug each other).IMG_2937
  • Clothing that covers the delta between swimsuit+flip flops and winter jacket+boots. Delirium, specially since the older ones have started to grow by QUANTUM LEAPS. It could be possible that when they come back from the sea they can´t fit anymore in those clothes that were enormous one month ago. Not good though.
  • Medicines. You grew up in the belief that Aspirine was a panacea for any type of sickness, and you still consider any other drug as efficient as the Bach flower remedies. But both pediatrician and doctors have turned down this conviction: you can´t simplify with the kids. And then again, aspirine is not good for the stomach. So there you go: red antipyretics, yellow anti-inflammatory, pink creams, blue eyewash. Then you won´t know what to do because you are too lazy to read the leaflet, and you will end up giving them an aspirine (“Believe me sweety, with this one the broken rib will be cured in a few days”).
  • Books. Mmm. Buying books for the kids before a trip is one of those… joys of life. Let´s see: a nerd tale of science fiction for the oldest one, something comical and a bit feminist for the little one. And for Emma, but actually for all of you, inevitably this.
  • Music. Many years of traveling with the kids have allowed you to discover the Secret of the Peace Within a Car: the radio dramas. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the most efficient way to entertain the kids is some sort of stuff for OLD PEOPLE. It´s not easy to find them in Italian, we don´t have the BBC here. You need to browse the whole internet and they often have a poor audio quality, but still they are able to literally hypnotize the creatures (and let´s admit it, also yourself). This year you have opted for: Blade Runner, Tex Willer; the biography of Bruce Lee (*You can never invite the wind, but you must leave the window open. YEAH); Belfagor the Phantom of the Louvre; and a pile of some others, including, directly from 1949, “Alberto Sordi speaking” (!). And then, well, there is the music. But you will tell in real-time about this.
  • Movies. For the bad-weather-evenings sheltered in the van. It´s not easy to bring together the film taste of kids on such different ages. So you invest on the classics: the whole Miyazaki for Maia, whom anyway can watch anything; then Animal House, Point Break, the Big Lebowsky, Moonrise Kingdom, the Blues Brothers, the Goonies, Stand by me, The great Escape. And finally “I soliti ignoti”. In short, from Totoro to Totò, it´s peeeerrrrrrrfect I would say.
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You could read while you are driving. No, it’s dangerous, it could cause nausea

And now for you? The usual esacamotage of taking your oldest and most ruined clothes, so you have an excuse to throw them away? Diet of roots, insects and beer to save money? And then what would you do with those books, those movies with Shirley MacLaine with the green tights or Jack Nicholson with a broken nose, do you really think you will find some free time to (re)watch them? Pfffff. You better think about being concentrated on the road, the long road. And don´t get distracted by watching the Swedish girls.

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FUCK FLEGETONTE: while the rats are away the cat can play. Young mr.A.F.

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Shhhhhh, the movie begins!

    “Flegetonte. That is exactly the type of a name a grandma would give to her poodle: “come here Flegetonte, Mummy has prepared a chicken liver´s cake for you”. But who the hell names the atmospheric phenomenons? And most important, do they get paid for it?

In Milan we are gasping for breath. Looking for relief in the ephemeral summer events like the Hipster’s country festival is like… useless. Luckily for them, your kids are going to the see so they can grab a bit of fresco; the previous evening you take them to a plane and sincere pizza place, and then to gobble down the ice-cream under the hackberries at via Biondi. You will meet them again at the end of the month, right before your departure. It´s the classic eve of the summer holidays: you can perceive all the carefreeness that runs under their skin, it makes them speak at a slightly higher volume than normal and walk like if they were suspending. You feel so jealous…

Abandoned by your kids, on Saturday you decide to run away again: this time towards the mountains. You pick the car and drive through the city that is shaking on the heat, you pass by via Palmanova (don´t go over 60km/h, there´s a speed camera!) and you take the Mother of all motorways. Your friend and former flatmate, the young A.F., is waiting for you with other friends at the so called “Valley of Smoke”; you would have a thousand and thousands things to do but, well…what did we say last time about which fingernails you should cut first? And anyway, this is one of those weekends in which you have to get rid of a thought in your mind.

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the old neighbour was not so happy

With A.F. you shared for two years the house with the big terrace. You have beautiful memories about those days, both you and your kids (not that much the neighbor though: maybe she wasn’t able to appreciate music?). You and A.F. are different by age, nature and needs, but still he is a person which whom you feel completely comfortable (an absolute rarity for a pathologic introvert as yourself). Your lives follows different railways but there is a common direction guided by the unrelenting desire for exploring new roads, things or people, each of you their own way. It doesn´t matter how much time would pass, when you meet again in any place (maybe marvelous, like this time) it feels like the most natural thing of the world. This is the true essence of what they call friendship, you guess.

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uh – oh

You drop the car near the nth dam in Trentino (how many of them are there???) great and terrible in the perpetual threat of losing control of their immense power. Then you take the path along the the lake. Dark clouds are roaring on the peaks of the mountains, you didn´t think about the possibility of an eventual storm… Fortunately you are in the section of the path where the trees are thicker and shelter you from the rain. The few people you bump into along the path say hello ostentatiously, according to that annoying agreement that in the mountain we all love each other. What the hell, couldn´t we agree that a smile is enough, given that we are all exhausted by the walk? Ok, you might be the grumpy one, but sometimes in the mountain you encounter people with the friendly expression typical of Rosa and Olindo, nevertheless they strive to say hello loud; but while they do they are clearly hating you.

Once outside the larch forest, you go up the valley passing along the river, IMG_2697while the clouds open up. The last sunshine illuminates the Adamello, that surrounds an idilic valley around the Chiese river, which slips “allegro” forming bends, puddles and small waterfalls. Finally you meet the others, that are mounting the tents in a meadow next to the river, paying good attention not to step into the souvenirs from the cows. Speaking of which, allow me a brief

SCATOLOGICAL DIGRESSION

Cows poop is an object towards which we all feel instinctive sympathy. Believe me: we always refer to it with that loving term “poop”, going back to be a child while we enjoy the funny cacca muccasound. Instead, shit is an offensive term that we reserve to dog waste, towards which we feel repulsion. Non of the excrements receives affectionate trust that human feels towards the cow poop. Maybe it´s because of that circular and spiral shape, that evoques ancestral images printed in our mind since the very dawn of time: the galaxies and the danish rolls. Ok, I cut it.

You all pay homage to the name of the valley with a tasty barbecue, plus that other thing that… well, ok, you know what i mean, while the sky is getting filled with stars. You sleep like a baby, and the next day you are awaken by an equine-bovine transhumance that is crossing your meadow guided by their herdsmen exclamations (tö tö tö tö! dåi béllaaaaaaa! tö tö tö tö!  the vocals are pronounced the Swedish way). The river´s water is freezing cold, but we don’t mind regretting this bath for the next days…

You arrive back to Milan in the evening, you listen to this counting down the days left for the kids to return and therefore, for your departure: 25 days. Eternity. It´s time to start preparing things, maybe, you can´t improvise as you do when you are on your own.

An then again, now more than ever, what you need is reality, not illusions. So make sure you turn it into a nice reality.