Journal Entry April 16th 2009 Thursday:

After work I made my way home. Rushed through my clothes looking for a decent outfit for the night. April’s a nice time of year and the warm weather, sunny morning, and beautiful Italian afternoon had convinced me I’d be fine with a light shirt and jeans. I tossed some wax in my hair and rumbled out of the house. Four clicks to the left and I left the security of my apartment for a spring evening.

With a quick jog and a little dodging I hopped over to the tram, swiped my all access Urban pass and rode the jilting tumbling machine toward Porta Romana. I’d be early today – maybe the station would have a surprise waiting for me. Three minutes of stretching and fighting the machines sways and I was on foot once again. Across the tracks, dodge a car, then an old woman with an umbrella… Umbrella? But its sunny? A quick chuckle to myself and I’d climbed into the gaping maw of the urban monster. Another swipe of the pass and a dangerous brush with the tined entities counting each morsel and I’d made it to the trains.

Yellow line… Porta Romana to Centrale…Centrale to Monza…Monza to dinner. I wonder what we’ll eat? She alluded to something; I’m excited for the surprise.

Centrale. I’m on the commuter, an extra 1.60 E, in the suburbs, clock hits seven pm. Train met me at the station, thirty minutes earlier than the commuter I’d expected. It’d be fun to take it, lets have an adventure. Now, I’m waiting in Monza. Outside the station, I nudged my ride…she’ll arrive in a few.

Blue car, red car, yellow car, blue car, black car, white, white, green…. Blue! That’s got to be her. She passed me. Didn’t see me, I was enjoying the park at the station she was probably looking at the other side of the street. Where I should have been. Guess its time to call.

Meet her on the other side. Alright, rush through the station back under the track and up on the other edge. Barren, industrial, bus lot. Ugly I preferred the other, wait… there’s her car.

European cars are bloody tiny. My knees against the dash, my head almost on the roof. Oh well, the company is what’s important. We talk, greet each other, a deep hug and then off we go. She’s excited. We’ll try Chinese. Italian Chinese? Nope. Food’s mediocre, conversation and company is exceptional.

We rumble back into the car, at six feet three inches 230 lbs I stuff my body in remembering the clowns at a carnival. The algae, shrimp, bamboo, funghi (mushrooms), and shrimp cakes are settling in my stomach. We decide we need something hot to drink. Italy’s spring is right on schedule. Temperature has dropped and weather’s turned nasty. Rain pelts the metal beast and cold permeates its hardened armor.

Ten minutes, singing with the radio and we’ve arrived. Big complex, looks like a farming commune, surrounded by fields… is that rice? We walk alongside the edges of the three story complex, find the gate. Enter into the courtyard and then we’re inside Samsara. I asked if she knew what the name meant. She wasn’t sure so we talked about it. It was the beginning of a very interesting conversation. Samsara is the Hindu belief in the endless cycle of birth, life, and death ending in rebirth. I had a black tea and we enjoyed a quiet drink on the sequestered second floor. We made our way back to the train station and I waited for the last train.

The metal and plastic monster meandered into the station. It was thirty minutes late. It came to a rest and I prepared to board. The portals stayed closed. Angered I called out to the men inside. For two minutes I called and knocked on the doors. The train was without handles or levels to open the doors from the outside. Then the train began its journey towards Milan. Senza gente. 30 minutes late and it wouldn’t let us board. The monster rumbled on into the rain. As I stood on the platform the rain turned to hail and the ice did nothing to cool my frustration.

I called my host and begged for a place to stay. We arranged for me to sleep on the couch. Cold, upset and disappointed I went back to the house, nestled myself on the couch and prepared for an early start so I could make it to work.