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Thu. 6 October

Or at least intended to sleep. In fact around midnight I was awakened by the light of the fire alarm; did what I was told this time, went down to the desk — the phone was cut off — in James's pajamas, found them using an emergency light too: the power was off for the whole hotel. A clerk came up to the room with a ladder and disconnected the fire alarm light; also when I mentioned I couldn't get the fan to work, he took a remote control doodad (that I'd been pointing at the TV without success) and pointed it at the fan . . . .

After that I slept fine again —

We woke up around 7:30, again had breakfast on the Esquiline Square — this time James also had a tomato and mozzarella sammich, rather large & satisfying-looking for 3000₤ — and the plan was to go see the Capitoline Museum so James could see the statue of M. Aurelius and the She-Wolf; we stopped first for a good half hour at S. Pudenziana only about a block from where we had breakfast; vague memories of it being Byzantine. In fact it is by tradition the first place where Peter said Mass in Rome, and the apsidal mosaics are the oldest extant in Rome for sure: the cow of S. Luke I like so much is a restoration but I still like it. St. Peter's wooden altar is preserved, and quite invisible, under an apsidal chapel altar. The church in very bad repair; walls and floor seem to be of hoary antiquity; S. Pudentiana's contemporaneous funerary inscription is still there —

Eventually got to the Capitol after wandering down the various nineteenth-century boulevards, and spent about 2 hours in the 2 wings of the museum. Lots of very famous statues in addition to Wolfie: the Dying Gaul, the Capitoline Venus, the Old Drunken Woman, several famous busts of emperors, the bronze of the boy with the thorn in his foot, a copy of the Myron Discobolus, the bronze of Brutus, etc. The Capitoline Fasti have been set up in the She-Wolf room; the décor of much of the Capitoline Museum is of interest in itself, and Michelangelo is responsible for much of the architecture, I think.

When they closed the museum on us for lunch, we went and had lunch in a small triangular piazza (P.zza Margana) in the old town between the Capitol and the Tiber, not very far. The restaurant was supposedly once frequented by Goethe. James had spaghetti alle vongole and mine was with octopus — as usual, his was better; my second course was very simple but good: chicken livers fried in butter with sage leaves (no way to lose weight, either).

Long slow meal and then of course an accelerating rush thru tortuous streets to get back to the hotel and pick up my skating bag and get to my 4:10 train: 75 seconds to spare, and I ran several blocks up the v. Cavour and a bit inside the train station, but I did make it; leaving James in Rome at the hotel (he visited tons of things, half of them in the dark, including S. Maria in Cosmedin and S. Pietro in Vincoli).

I would have got on ice on time except that Giampiero told me I'd have to pay for my lessons at the rink office — so although I had my skates on I went up there, and they didn't know what to do and ran around asking people then the young woman wrote up twelve three-part slips, numbered dated and signed, one for each 20‑minute segment of lesson for the whole month of October, a wad of useless to me paper in my wallet and ten minutes ice time lost — I told Giampiero how arrabbiatoº and impazzito this made me, he said he was none too happy either, it was a new policy which along with others was driving away students —

More work on crossovers; the back crossovers may in fact be improving specifically due to his method, but I never have any feeling that they are. The edge rolls are and I do. The main problem is that I live in my head so much that I haven't the faintest feeling for where my weight is — as usual, I feel stupid; still, it's normal I should, having ignored my body for forty years and just now beginning to be aware of it.

The session after was a multiple group session of Pre-Alpha thru Beta of various age groups each staking out either a face-off circle or a swath of ice to skate crosswise back and forth on. One old man of probably 57 or so in the adult Alphas with a few young women — why do some of us oldsters do this?

To the train stop in a short-sleeve shirt under what had turned quite cold during the 2h I was at the rink (the weather report gave the low for Rome as 40°F): an unpleasant wait. Found James at the hotel at a quarter to nine not having eaten so we went to Antonio's; I had vegetable antipasti and a beer, he had a full meal. To bed.

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Page updated: 8 Nov 01