“Lost in the Scenery”
Drat! Now this is EXACTLY why I won’t let myself imagine in color: Because I ALWAYS get lost in the scenery if I do. I have absolutely no sense of time. I am “directionally challenged” in my home town. So what am I gonna do now? Just HAD TO gaze into that painting, didn’t you, girl?
I’m in Rome. I was in the Sistine Chapel with a tour group. Why did I let Joyce talk me into coming on this tour? I NEVER go on tours. Joyce is so dang visual. Joyce is so into experiences. Joyce is so gregarious. Yeah, and Joyce is off with the rest of the tour, because she can see things and remain connected to reality. Not me, though. Oh no.
In the sixties they started calling this phenomena “tripping out.” Mom and Dad just called it “day dreaming.” “Earth to Rani,” is what my sister Vickie would say. Yeah, well, earth (or the part of it I’m familiar with) just walked away and boarded the bus without me. Yeah, I don’t just get lost in the scenery in my imagination. Oh no, I’m more lost than that. I am a wall flower. Absolutely forgettable. I am so quiet, nobody notices me.
Yeah, they probably said “last call” or something. But I was reading Michelangelo’s mind. I was living in his world. So now how do I get back to my hotel before they all head back to America without me, for crying out loud?
“He is a foreign man. He is surrounded by the sound, sound. Angels in the architecture, spinning in infinity. I said hey, hallelujah!” Paul Simon. I love Paul Simon. What would Paul Simon do? He travels all over creation, and he’s a poet. THINK, Rani!
I need to ask somebody how to get back there. NO! I need to beg somebody to GUIDE me back there. Or I need a map. In English. Okay, now what am I going to do. Think! Think!
Hello … does anyone here speak English? No. Well how about this one then, Parlez-vous Francais?
Yeah, like that will help if somebody says, “Oui, je parle francais.”
When I was foster-mom to Than and his English wasn’t so good, I tried to remember my French, because he’d told me he’d learned French in school in VietNam. But my schoolgirl French and his schoolboy French didn’t sound the same, so THAT didn’t work. I had wanted to impress upon him some concept, and I just could not find the English words he knew to do it.
Oh! I remember! Finally I found something along those lines in my Bible, and then copied the same chapter and verse out of HIS Vietnamese Bible. I don’t remember if that worked, though.
But what the heck!
Bibles, Bibles, this is a CHAPEL for crying out loud. Do they have any Bibles here in Italian? More importantly than that, is there ANY dang verse in the Bible that says, “I am from America and I am lost. I do not even remember the name of my hotel, let alone the street it is on.” Obviously THAT is not in the Bible. So pointing to a verse in an Italian Bible and using that to express myself is NOT going to help me out of this situation.
Yeah, well, quit thinking about that.
Universal language. Music is the universal language. Yeah, but not all songs are universal. What songs do I know in English that your average Roman is going to know in Italian? Think! Think!
Pavarotti is the only Italian singer I know. No, wait, Placido Domingo. And he sang a few in English: “Perhaps love is like a resting place, a shelter from the storm …” SHELTER! Where is my shelter in this foreign land? And WHY isn’t my group coming back in search of me?
“Stop and stare. I think I’m moving but I go nowhere …” Now WHY am I hearing that song by One Republic in my head?
No, wait! That isn’t a song in my head. That is the ring tone on my cell phone! Cell phone! Answer it!
My son! Back at home in the USA! Hi, honey; how ya doin’? … Oh, … Well did you look in the study? Yeah, under Dad’s desk, in that little drawer thing. Say, listen, do you have your computer fired up? … Good. Listen, honey, could you do a Google Earth for me? … Yeah. See if you can find the Sistine Chapel in Rome. … Okay, I’ll wait. … You’ve got it? Great! Now could you look on my desk next to the calendar for the copy of the itinerary of this tour I’m on and see what the name of my hotel is supposed to be? … You found it? Great! … No, I don’t need to know the name of it. Just do a Google map for me of the directions from the Sistine Chapel to that hotel, and then STAY on the phone and talk me back there. … Yeah, I know. Just help me, okay? STOP laughing and start Googling. Thank you!
Fiction by Rani Kaye – All Rights Reserved