Burbank, CA

Destination Unknown

End of July 2019

It rained yesterday morning. I know, it shouldn’t be that big of a deal, but in Los Angeles it is always something cherished. By others. Not particularly by me. Yesterday though I enjoyed the rain to another level. I did not need a break from the heat, I did not need to have clouds in the sky covering up the sun. I need the sun. It is an actual necessity for someone like me who thrives when the sun is shining. Nevertheless, when Leo woke up and it was time for our morning walk, despite the few drops of rain, we left the house and we walked in the rain (just like in that book my brother gifted me a long time ago The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein). Something told me to bring with me my iPod so we walked in the rain, while listening to the songs that accompanied me in my road trip, and it was phenomenal. Epiphanies started happening at every step. The dog too seemed happier. It was spectacular. The plants and the trees all around us were releasing their scent all over, and the typical ozone smell was cleaning the air. It felt like we were going for a natural cleanse for our senses, Leo was clearly smelling the air, the grass, the flowers, the tree trunks, but he wasn’t forcing his stops on me. He did not need to linger on specific spots for long, because it was all around him, all around me, and how can you not weep when perfect mother nature is embracing us creatures in such a smooth way? Indeed.

Once again –because it happened before, I could feel my cells cheering at the sounds filling up my skull through my ears. One minute I was in Burbank, the other I was in Santa Cruz, sitting by the dog beach, enjoying the Pacific. Then I was back in Seattle. I closed my eyes and recalled the moments. Goose bumps. Then again that song that I never thought I could like. I feel 17 again and I can’t help but go back in time and back to Boston, where 17 was the way I was feeling basically every other day. The dog and I danced through the streets of the Burbank hills, and there was almost no one around: who would go for a walk in the rain? So the few people we were encountering on our path were making eye contact, and we would smile at them, acknowledging we were on the same page. We were happy to be alive and we had to celebrate it. Can you tell how much I’ve changed? I think I can.

A walk that lasted an hour and a little more, that felt too short at the end, but it lasted an eternity that felt amazing. Time is a construction of men, yes. Because in these moments there is only a “now” that you can’t really quantify. I started thinking deeply, I recalled teachings from the past, from when in high school we were studying philosophy, or even geography in elementary school. History back then was a burden: I could never remember dates. What I cared for was the way the story was told, and not a lot of teachers were good story tellers at the time. But I felt lucky. Oh if I felt lucky. All these subjects that in other places in the world are not even considered part of your academic curriculum, where I am from, they are taught to you. Mandatorily. Who would teach Epic in school? Yeah, no, you fools, not the adjective to say “dude, that was epic”. No. Epic, like literature, those long narrative poems that talk about heroes from the past and their story. It’s a middle school subject for us. Middle school. Let that sink in. Or at least it was. I really wish it still is. Italian peeps, is it still taught as school? I should ask my aunts Rita and Gloria, they would know. Oh goodlordwhatishappeningtome? I have tears streaming down my face thinking about how lucky I was. I am. I swear I always thought it was a curse to be born in a place where I could not be a rockstar by the age of 16 like Billie Eilish, but then… this? I’m sorry, it’s priceless. I had such an education (basically free in my home country) that I am so mad I can only now appreciate at such a deep level. Silly goose.

I’ve spent the first days in L.A. catching up with the episodes of tv-shows I had on my watch list. I binged those and then I thought “what about all those books you got and thought you could read while road tripping?” so I brought my box of books from the car, inside, and I started binging on these instead. Being able to get all the references without having to read the footnotes –as I already know about this or that philosopher, this or that historical character, this or that rhetorical figure, this or that episode in history, is making me feel dumb. Why am I only now realizing this? Where have I been these past 20 years? Was I even being part of this world? Oblivious. That’s the only word I can think of, but rain or not rain, road trip or not, I feel different now. I’ve always been an observer, but I have never felt the connection. I knew it was there, but I felt distant. Explained why I always felt like there was something missing in me. I could not belong. I could not relate to most of the people around me. No matter how many books I read, no matter the Divine Matrix, the “being all and one with the whole”, the “coming from the same source, the Big Bang, and we’re one”, I got it, but I wasn’t feeling it in my body. And I am not saying that all of a sudden I am now in touch with everything. Hell no. But even sensing a little bit of what it feels to be one and everything was magical. And I am glad that, to share it with me, there was another magical creature: a perfect beautiful dog. (God spelled backwards, I know).

If you haven’t read them yet, take some time to read these books. They may or may not help you, but I need to leave them here as they are now part of this journey I started as a houseless person. I can’t share photos of beautiful places because I am stuck in just one for now, but I can share music and literature: how about that? Find my Spotify playlist as well, if you want to feel young inside, as these are the songs that are currently played on the radios (mostly pop … I know, I know). If you do follow my suggestion though, let me know what you think, k? Cheers for now.

Find the books on Amazon by clicking on each image.

A book a day, for now we have:

Suggested by my friend Silvia

Wife of Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda (who designed the cover)

Stumbled into this by chance. Worth reading.

Gifted by Aunt Gloria 🙂 .In Italian.

Got it in Boston never had the chance to finish it. Done.

My Road Trip Playlist

Chicago, Illinois

Destination Unknown

June 26, 2019

What’s up Chicago?!?! I’ve been waiting forever to come see you bud, here you are! Splendid. I wish I could see one of my kids to show me around but nope, not this time, I’m going to explore this city all alone, as usual.

I had to get here late, or better later than expected, because I wanted to stop by a mechanic and ask for a quick check to my wheels as I can now hear a weird noise after they changed my oil and rotated the wheels in Colorado Springs. The guys at the Auto Station couldn’t even hear the sound, so 1. they thought I was crazy and 2. they didn’t do anything except for trying to make me feel a little less concerned about a potentially imminent car crush. They tried to see what was wrong though, for at least a couple of hours, and they were kind enough that they did not make me pay the “consultation”, so before leaving I had already ordered a pizza on GrubHub which got to them 2 minutes after I was on my way to Chicago.

Last night I took it easy. I keep on being tired and can’t figure out a way to recover. I spent the afternoon working on a translation and for a little bit it felt like I actually had a life, in the sense that the motel room disappeared around me and it seemed like I was in L.A. in my apartment, working on something, waiting for the sunset I could see from my windows facing DTLA. Yes, I miss being in Los Angeles. Even though I left because I was feeling overwhelmed by it, I am still longing for the city of angels. After all, that’s where I wanted to go, to move, to live, and I guess she’s waiting for me to come home.

I am so drained I don’t even feel like taking photos or writing about what I am seeing and feeling. I am having a moment, I guess, reaching this part of my adventure, when I am questioning and doubting. Everything. Having technical issues with the car, along with my concerns in general, is not helping, and I am not even enjoying the city as much as I wanted. I feel like I need to be in the wilderness to actually function for this matter. California, Oregon, Washington, Utah, even British Colombia, offered me an escape almost every day, where I could go and free my mind, open up to nature, and touch things. See things. Breathe things. Smell things. Feel. From Colorado on, it’s been green and blue, green and blue, the rain, the clouds, and then Nebraska was nice but did not really pass some good vibes, Iowa was ok, and at least I had a recap of some good music so… what is going on really? I don’t know.

While entering Illinois, two songs accompanied me and they were totally random on the radio station I was listening to: one was Papercut by the Linkin Park, and I am pretty sure I do not need to give another explanation about why this is so important, but most of all, after such a long time I cannot even recall, I heard I’ll be missing you the remake Puff Daddy did with Faith Evans of Every Breath You Take by the Police. Why does this matter? Because this song was the song we dedicated to Michela, a friend from high school who died when we were 16. That year we were in Austria, classmates and friends together, and at a bowling place the song came on the radio. We looked at each other and we thought “she’s here, with us” and since then I always wanted to believe it was true. After all, what are the chances you would hear this song on the radio in 2019? Right. So Ciao Micky, thanks for being here with me today. I miss you too.

This to say I eventually had company today, while visiting Chicago. I took a long walk all over the downtown area, the riverfront and the lakeshore. The parking ticket says 8 hours, so we better believe I have been wandering around for a while, except for maybe those moments I sat at a Starbucks and at Whole Foods where I grabbed lunch. Chicago reminded me that I haven’t been reporting about the smells I sensed in this crazy trip. Every time I was smelling something or having a reminiscence of a place and a time somewhere else, by perceiving some specific odors, I thought “I need to write this on the blog”, and then guess what? I always forgot. I think Portland smelled like my apartment in Sydney, or was it Seattle? Curry and typical Indian Food smell was all over, while Vancouver reminded me of Liverpool. In Chicago, I had it all. A corner smelled like my room at Mount Holyoke College, in South Hadley, MA and the moment I actually recalled it was kind of bittersweet. Somewhere else I smelled fried doughnuts or something, and it reminded me of those nights in September when the nights are getting cooler, and in my hometown there is a town fest where food trucks sell “frittelle”, cotton candy, sweets and caramelized nuts. Then there was a corner that smelled like fried fish, and I was back in those towns on the beach in the Venetian coast, where you walk at night, and all you can do is getting hungry by simply smelling the air. Oh hey, there were also those smelly corners where it seemed like the city had diarrhea, and the putrified smell of sewage were all around, but I tried not to be annoyed by those so much. After all, the city is actually beautiful, walkable, and I enjoyed it, even if just for a day.

At the Millennium Park, in the morning, they were preparing for a music festival that I think had to happen later the same night, and although I actually thought for a moment to stay, and go to that concert alone, as I started doing with pride and honor (chuckle) these days, today I do not feel like having to be social, or alone in the middle of people. Either I am alone and isolated, or not. Alone in the middle of everyone has been my status for so long that I just don’t feel like doing it now. I may be missing a really cool event, but I won’t push myself beyond the limit. My comfort zone sometimes is already too uncomfortable itself, that I don’t need to step out of it to prove something to either myself or anyone else. I wish I were not this tired, and exhausted, and drained. Hopefully I will get some energies back soon.

Wrapping up the year like… Breaking Bad

Haircut Madness

…the series finale of a tv show. “Oh come on yo!It’s over, bitch!” Ok, not explicitly like that, this is just because I am going cold turkey after a marathon of five, yes, five, seasons in less than a week, wait, probably three days, of Breaking Bad and Jesse’s voice is basically stuck in my head. For real. I am literally living in a different dimension right now, my brain is fried but at least I am like, high without using drugs, so yeah, thanks for the kudos, y’all.

How did you like this two thousand sixteen yo? (Yo is always needed, thanks Jesse!) Well, where should I begin? Oh wait, I just recalled a Linkin Park’s song with this! It’s And One, and dang the things and the chills it gives me, still. Wooo, and it actually takes me right where I wanted to start: “keep my distance from your lies”. Yassss. Because, I am not sure it is Breaking Bad’s fault or whatever, but today I have been pondering much. Right when this year is finally getting to an end, my wonderfully tireless brain got back to wonder if people, read human beings, should actually be trusted at all. What is trust really? Uhm, the dictionary shows “n. firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something“. Firm. Belief. Reliability. Truth. Someone. Ugh, ok, no. You actually get a much better overview on wikipedia… I know, not the coolest reference place you would want to rely on, but at least it develops the meaning on several levels: sociology, psychology, philosophy… and whatsoever.

Now, for someone like me who does not even trust herself that much, this is a really big issue. People lie all the time. Fine, not all the time, but at least once and more than once, everybody has lied. I mean, I do it too, and most importantly I lie to myself, but uh, not a big deal, yo. (Yo! Lol) Or maybe it is. One thing at a time though. There are different kinds of lies, as well as different degrees of lying. Sometimes we do it unintentionally just because we have been deceived by our own feelings, emotions, perceptions and, at the end of the day, we all have the chance to lie every once in a while. Remember those white lies? Those harmless lies, said to avoid hurting someone’s feelings? How stupid is this now, really? Shouldn’t the truth be told no matter how much it hurts? Weak people! Weak human beings. I want to be a dog. Dogs never lie.

Why am I even talking about lies now? Oh yeah, because I was thinking about trust. How do we build trust if we are aware of the fact that sooner or later, everyone lies? We live in this era when lying comes so easily while hiding behind a smartphone or computer screen!!! People can be fucking someone right next door and tell you on the phone “oh, I’m just reading the Bible, how about you?” and who will ever know? I mean, I would quote both my darling Brendon Urie and Natalie Portman in Closer (2004) when one sings and the other answers to “tell me something true” by saying “Lying Is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off… but it’s better if you do“, but first, I would add “a girl and a guy have” because it all goes back to humans in general, I suppose.  All right, cool. I must be ranting about all this just because I have some trust issues. Who doesn’t, though? Applying my psychology studies to all this I should date them back to my early stages of this wonderful thing called life but for whatever reason, I will not do it. With time I learned that past experiences do not always interfere with your reactions at present. This is just who you are now, end of discussion.

Trust issues can come from two directions, I think: skepticism, which is a healthy attitude, and cynicism, which many consider bad but it is actually pretty useful, and these are the little Santa’s helpers that come into place when trust does not really know where and how to fit in. I think I rely on a mix of both, actually. Skepticism belongs to the ego whereas cynicism rules on my alter-ego, so ok, we got this far. Which personality damages my self-esteem and interferes with this whole issue the most though, is not clear. It will never be. And guess what? It got worse right after I had that amazing idea of changing the way I looked. Go me. I cannot believe that this is all due to a change of appearance. A different hairstyle. Maybe Delilah was right after all. Cutting someone’s hair is basically like ripping off a person’s strength, emotionally speaking. I know. I am totally aware it should not be right, but it is true. And as long as that person staring at me in the mirror does not match with me, myself and I, I will not trust her or anybody else dealing with her. Now. This said, and wrapping it all up, well, happy new year,  you reflected image. I wish you all the best, but now give me my personality back, thank you very much.

Happy 2017 everybody!