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Mon. 3 October

[. . .] been up for a while, weight 80½, I've got to get to 78 by the end of the week, so I think I'll cool it on meals: a good time to do it since they'll be expensive restaurant meals. [. . .]

Totally grey, intermittent rain, some of it heavy. Lightning, thunder. I've noticed that thunder peals in Todi last fifteen seconds, often; seems long.

And now, time to get cracking.

Cracking I got; it's 11:35 and all that's left is wash the dishes and wipe the tablecloth. Last little break before I close up shop here and head off to Rome by the 1:25 bus from the gardens and the 1:45 train.

The bank was relatively fast, about 12 minutes; the post office was positively speedy; and I was right, the total cost was 2800₤, it included three post cards after all. I have 7 tickets for the local bus, 3 of which will be used on this trip to and from Rome. I put my film to be developed, they say it'll be ready at 12:30. I have a notebook for the next volume of diary — that was problematic, actually: after 3 stationery shops I found something adequate, but for once France has something better than Italy. The laundry/dry cleaning place around the corner seems to be closed today, so a bag with 2 shirts, 2 sheets and my 38″ waist pair of trou will sit in the armoire until I get back.

I washed a load of laundry — the bath towel probably will take all four days to dry hanging on Mrs. Galletti's contraption — packed my skate bag and a suitcase. Changed the bed, my mind a medley of mildly unhappy thoughts.

Somewhere in all this, towards the beginning, I tried some skips (only got to 25 before tripping), did some pushups (only 11), but did 84 situps, so apparently I'm still getting partially more fit, anyway.

[vol. 4: an Italian notebook]

Difficult getting used to a new kind of notebook, where to write, how to set up the page — It'll be interesting also to see if I can keep this diary somewhat more concrete and practical and visual than the last few hundred pages. . . .

My photos were ready, 2 rolls developed for 42 ML, plus I bought 3 rolls of Gold 100 film, everyone swears that in Italy this gives better pictures; it's true that outdoors views are washed out with the 400's I've been using up to now. Many of my pictures are very attractive, I should probably get serious about photography, it might even be a way to pay for these trips and make 'em tax-deductible.

I'm on the little putt-putt to Terni, just pulled out, the 1:25 Linea C bus down from Oberdan was crawling with children, and the parking area at Consolazione was a solid mass of buses and children and teenagers going to just about everywhere, incl. Cecanibbi even —

Terni station. Nothing is simple in Europe! I tried to buy a generic roundtrip ticket for James, Rome - Todi - Rome. Nothing doing. It was carefully explained to me (beauti­ful woman at the window, jet black hair and eyes, pale complexioned, fiery temperament) that I can't buy a ticket without knowing for what date, that I can't buy a RT ticket with a 15‑day span, etc. — at least on the Rome-Terni portion; on the Terni-Todi portion, no sweat, innocent little blue and yellow stubs. Of course I'm trying to avoid spending 40 minutes in line at Termini to buy a ticket. . . Finally, I got a Rome-Terni ticket dated Friday; James can travel before, but not after: that seems plausible. The return will have to be bought in Terni train station some other day. . . meaning, since the Terni connection is so brief, we'll have to let one slip just to have time to buy the ticket — Incredible — Plus I actually apologized for not understanding the system!

At the bank, it's sort of the same thing: the average time per customer at a window is something like 6 or 7 minutes — I'll have to go in there and time it once just to see; no U.S. bank would tolerate that, just think the money that costs!

The airport tomorrow, well, the 1st train out of Termini is 0700; since James arrives at 0635, I've ordered a cab for 0545, it can be expected to cost me 70 ML — Wakeup call arranged for 0500; the receptionist, who speaks decent English, did me the honor of conducting everything in Italian; not that I found anything particularly hard to say or to understand — amused that people back in the States who ought to know me better imagine I have just a few words of Italian — pleased that I have as much as I do, though: rather frightening when I consider I've never taken a single lesson and that this is only the 4th — and now, the longest — time I've been to Italy: the first time being 3 day trips off a cruise boat; and it really was astonishing when I came to Rome 26 years before, how well and comfortably I spoke it! I suppose I should get some of the verbs. . . .

Muggy in Todi today; pleasant in Terni & Rome, but this room is hot and muggy; there is a curious contraption, looking much like an industrial vacuum cleaner, with a big corrugated plastic duct into the wall under the window: it is in fact a combination heater/air conditioner. I turned it on ten minutes ago. It is blowing a small stream of coolish air; very hard to tell if it's making any difference.

Brought my rope, but will have to perform mobiliary surgery on this room to clear a large enough space for me to jump it. On the other hand the bathroom has a scale: I weigh 81; yet I've eaten only a yogurt all day. Rather hungry, of course, so will feed myself something; probably will go out and buy biscuits so I can have a sort of breakfast before James comes in — time to get dressed and find food.

I did. Too much. I get into a restaurant and just go thru the courses. . . not the way to lose weight. Antonio's on v. di S. M. Maggiore basically around the corner. A very good salad of squid and mussels and some other, unidentifiable, seafood (skate, maybe). An almost equally good "penne al Ré": penne with a gooey mozzarella and tomato sauce with a touch of cayenne. A scaloppine di vitello al Marsala, pretty good too. A slice of torta alla nonna, coffee. Wine was negligible tho' a DOC: Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. Drank only ¼ of it and expressly left the rest to my waiter. Simple, friendly place. Fast.

[. . .] 8:20, flossed, in bed, will read a bit (my Agatha Christie in Italian), then sleep — James must be over the Atlantic or no, probably arriving in Washington about now —

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