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Saturday 29 October

Mezzaluna is disappointing; still the actual surface of the ice is good: I skated on it, unexpectedly, immediately after the competition, which was not an international champion­ship, but an international meet, juniors: the free programs and awards ceremony. A French couple, the woman wearing a bodice reminiscent of the Stars & Stripes, and dancing to Red River Valley among other things, won; I preferred a Polish couple who did a terrific tango — the problem with tangos is of c. they've absolutely got to be steaming hot and at 17 you don't yet know quite how. . . but a good deal of presence (Filipowicz and Shumski). In third, happily, a nice-looking local couple from the rink itself: Grimaldi e Acquaviva.

Only about 75 spectators, with a group of fifteen of us, incl. me and Lorenzo, the 27‑year‑old beginning ice dancer who skates at Marino who'd told me about the meet (the "Autumn Trophy"), up in a balcony —

Lorenzo'd brought his skates; when the awards ceremony broke up, they immediately opened up the rink; kicking myself for not having brought my skates, but put on rental skates and skated anyway: Lorenzo had offered to drive me back and access to Mezzaluna — and especially, from M. back to Rome 3 km on foot in the dark and catching a bus at a somewhat uncertain time and a somewhat uncertain place — is difficult.

The rental skates were a disaster! The 1st pair had basically no edges — I changed for another pair: better and worse: the right skate was barely OK, the left had no outside edge at all. Felt like in April. . . embarrassing, too, to skate so badly due to no fault of my own — hmm, backtrack: yes it was my fault, since I'd chosen not to bring my skates thinking I'd have no use for 'em — learned a big lesson there.

At 10:30-ish Lorenzo drove me back, it turns out he lives 3 blox from my hotel, in the v. S. Martino dei Monti.

That was at 7-ish; I then fell asleep again to wake up again, fully rested, at nearly noon: I've showered but not dressed yet and I looked at the clock display on my camera: it's 12:20!

Undecided what to do now, since the Sistine Chapel is closed now (or will be when I could get there); don't think I'll go to the 4 P.M. gala at Mezzaluna, just a shorter version of yesterday. Don't have my skates and never want to pair of rentals again, so Marino is out, peccato! And based on inadequate information, my best reaction was to do what I did and reserve for 2 nights, but now I need to get some use out of the expense [. . .]

[. . .] I went clothes shopping. Utterly frustrating: I found not a single item, in 25 stores, that I fully liked, except possibly a pair of trousers at Jolly's (despite the name, an Italian chain of stores) on the Esquiline Square. Still, I bought 6 Armani T‑shirts (4 white, 2 black) because the seam is farther back and won't shift forward as I skate — I tried this in every store where I considered something seriously: most shirts failed this test; and now that my posture has changed, this is critical, since I wind up readjusting my shirts every 2 minutes, with the risk of it becoming a tic — I also bought 5 wool pullovers that I think can be worn next to the skin — virgin wool — I'm wearing one of my 2 new identical green turtlenecks right now, sitting by a plate of cold boiled lemon chicory at the Gran Caffé Strega on the p.zza Viminale, by a charming fountain — a lot of water cascading over a wall on which is painted a blond woman in a black strapless evening gown wading in the Fontana di Trevi — geraniums and greenery surrounding it: a little kitschy but very pleasant. And — I just noticed — off to my right and extending far enough behind me to complete the illusion, trees in a little fieldlike space; I could almost be in Acquasparta if Acquasparta were this nice. . . [. . .] a good-sized male tabby who decided I pet well and came to stay for a while by me, rolling over and of course getting petted much more [. . .]

Eleven fifteen. Just walked back from a long delight­ful discussion after my light meal (in addition to my chicory, some — good — crostini and a coffee and a grappa) with a French couple in the tenants' rights and housing movement, good people; many subjects touched on — France as the heart of the West — the essence of being American — the nature of freedom in Anglo-Saxon political philosophy, the films of Fellini (I learned that the scene painted on the fountain is from La Dolce Vita, and 2 other of his films were advised me if I loved Rome which I do, Fellini Roma and La Nave) —

Walked the four blox back to the Valle; the turtleneck didn't, doesn't, itch.

[image ALT: A circular badge with a representation of a handshake in the center, surrounded by the words 'Sport è Solidarietà' and 'UISP'.]
Shouldn't forget to record the large, happy, demonstration, mostly associations of retired persons, Christian social action groups, and sports-for‑all associations — whence the sticker in the inside front cover of this diary that I wore much of the afternoon — I once interpreted a whole week of the Sports-for‑All movement, much taken by it; I went salmonwise up it from Piazza del Popolo (about which my opinion has changed, it's good, it's the cars that spoil it) all the way to past the Piazza di Spagna until it gave out, and perforce I walked very slow — [. . .]

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