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Wed. 22 September

9:05 A.M. and on the train to Terni. Generally nervewracking morning, but from here on in it should be OK. Woke up comfortably at about 5:30, composed a fax to James and sent it — on the 4th try it went thru, maybe the 5th. So apparently simple faxes are going to cost a fortune; more ominously, I had a connexion each time, but "break in transmission" — what is modeming a large file going to be like?

As a result, accelerated breakfast, got in 2 biscottes, coffee, yogurts. Down to P. Rio with plenty of time to spare, but was ill-advised enough to inquire about subscriptions; by the time he'd looked everything up, it was 8:59 (train at 9:01), I had no ticket, and 2 people were waiting behind me. I grabbed what I could quickly at that point, so I now have an abbonamentoº for Terni good for 30 days; and the Terni-Rome supplement, but not the Terni-Rome ticket. Since I'm not due in Rome until 4:10 P.M. departure to the rink, to avoid paying double the Terni-Rome fare, I'll skip the next train from Terni so I can straighten my ticket out; with any luck I can even buy a Terni-S.M. delle Mole subscription with supplements — the fool system in Todi lets me buy the supplement to but not from Rome, meaning I have to stand 20 minutes in line in Rome anyway.

Conclusion is pretty much what I expected: the ordinary processes of life here are arduous and unpleasant.

While I was writing the above, glanced out the window and saw a zebra munching peacefully: then in rapid succession some ostriches and an emu: a short while later, a Bactrian camel in his two-humped glory, surveying the landscape with an equal right as I have, I'm sure.

This train is very jerky, and I'm reacting with very ill temper to my pen being knocked off course. In general, I've been in a bad temper all morning. I've got to drop this bad temper: this form of it, a constant edginess exploding into nasty snarls at the really very slightest often mishaps, started out of nowhere within a few days after [. . .] — anyway, two or three days later these horrible snarls of mine started, and never let up. With effort, this may be the time to put an end to them.

On the way to the rink, 4:15. Somewhat more success­ful day in Rome today. In Terni, the 3d bank I went in gave me ₤ for my VISA, which then allowed me also in Terni to buy a full subscription from Terni to S. Maria delle Mole: one month for 178,500₤ incl. any supplements. With the 67,500₤ for Todi-Terni, given an ordinary RT Todi-SM d. M. of 40,100₤, a total of 7 trips will save me money; plus all the standing in line is done with.

Rome: hot (80° maybe) and clear skies turned to almost as hot but cloudy and muggy and thus in fact much worse. I basically walked down the v. del Corso and back looking for casual clothes, hardly found any, although I made the mistake of buying 4 shirts which I now have to fit into a locker with my bag (and because of the silly bureaucratic system, you can't get 2 lockers. . .) — Most of the clothing shops were either blazer-and‑tie joints or places to get cheap pseudo-USA clothes at often high prices. Of interest was that the worst offender of the latter had prominently posted signs on the windows telling you no photography or your film would be confiscated: obviously they don't want to get caught breaking copyright, design patent, or fair trade laws or whatever it is that governs ripoffs of other people's brands.

Also of interest is that my neck size is 41 cm, a bit more than 15½″ that I thought I was: actually 16 ⅛″ — wonder if it's exercise or age —

Finally didn't avoid eating in a restaurant, but not quite a restaurant — a sort of cafeteria: a full and very good meal with 3 bottles of fizzy water for 25 ML: a sort of salad of tomatoes and little white lumps that must have been cheese?;​a then some absolutely superb gnocchi — I have to record that I never really cared for my mother's (semolina) gnocchi, despite everyone else saying how good they were — these were terrific and now I can see what the fuss is about; and rabbit with olives and rosemary, excellent; with stewed fruit for dessert.

On the train just out of S.M. delle Mole, after my first skating lesson in Italian. I really am a rather brave person with after all these years a warm open personality! And by and large I understood what I had to, and am pleased with Giampiero — who by the way is the junior coach on the ice for the high FS session following — the young woman I noticed the day before yesterday is in fact the current Italian champion, I think her name is Silvia Fontana — Giampiero is on chummy terms with her —

My lesson itself, G. put me thru everything forward: stroking, crossovers, T‑stops, outside edge rolls. The demons, to use [. . .]'s term, are the famous right shoulder thruout — combined with improper placement of the left foot on all the pushes; and no clear sense of where my weight is. Giampiero put me thru a sort of crane or stork glide for the L/R crossovers, in which I don't do the crossover: I push (out diagonally, toe down), hold, then bring the foot in first, then diagonally not circularly cross in the XO, so he just has me bring the foot in then up, but with my gliding leg straight, then both feet together then repeat. In general, he wants me to do a little 2‑foot glide each time to reëstablish posture: as the XO's get good, the glide will just go away on its own. And pull that right shoulder back! His teaching style is tighter than [. . .]'s but tending to the same ideas. The edge rolls are done differently here in Italy, with the arms coming down and going back up, a bit more like walking — as per [. . .]'s instructions, I'll do what they do here and we can then work back to U.S. standards to pass U.S. tests.

After my lesson — happy — did my usual fooling around, well not fooling around, that's belittling myself, call it play — that little dance step of [. . .]'s is coming along nicely, confirmed.

Waiting to pull out of Termini. [. . .] now the slow return to Todi including the deadly stop in Terni at 9:30 to 10:30 — unfortunately for boredom's sake, I'm not hungry: I've got to develop a better schedule for my skating days, bring homemade sammiches with me and finding something to do during the 1‑hour layover in Terni.

Well, this is what I'm doing this time — sitting about 250 yards from the station at one of the gelaterieºpassed by a coupla days ago. I was right in a way: I chose a fruit pastry that looked very good, but it's way too sweet — couple beers, too: not the best diet. Need a better solution to Terni!

The usual bus ride in the dark, the now familiar climb up from P. Romana, 1 glass of grapefruit juice, 32 situps out of curiosity on top of the fatigue — pretty good! — and this pen also running out; tomorrow shopping for pens, sugar, and garbage bags.

Overall, the day was OK [. . .]

Later Note:

a I'm savvier now; it was an insalata caprese.

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