100 Thoughts You Have On Your Primo Italian Holiday


1. Oh no my left arm pit smells like a dead pigeon – perhaps it’s a side effect of the Propecia? Maybe it’s just the odor from all this wild, equine wanderlust inside me? Or maybe just plain old dirty, slutty lust? I think I’m just stressed. Yeah. Actually, maybe I’m just a jackass. Oh shit I took the company bathroom key with me. Oh fuck ‘em.

2. Newark airport beer is good.

3. Damn, this one is too. Bluuuue Moooon.

4. A woman’s teddy bear just exploded all over the plane and people are afraid it’s some kind of foamy Ebola-snow from terrorists.

5. It’s the middle of the night, and a mathematician next to me is getting into a fight with a neurotic housewife in front of us. The flight attendants are calming them with their cannoli language.

6. Italian really is prettier than any other language. Custard just oozes off of their lips and all over your face. Your eyes get covered in powdered sugar and chocolate too.

7. Screw you United, for your subzero, frozen-butter air conditioning, and your angel-hair-thin blankets.

8. Italy smells like warm cigarettes.

9. I hear a man stuck in the bathroom. Why does a post-plane-piss feel so good? I hear him screaming, “I can’t get out! Oh god help me Jesus I’m stuck! Hey man, why are you ignoring me? I can hear you peeing!” I can’t believe I just walked away.

10. This old church next to this field of fig trees overlooking this massive Lake Como, with the sound of the church bells mixing with the sound of silence, is just so darn beautiful mixing with too much beautiful. People must kill themselves here because they long for the ugly.

11. Is it really that odd to spend four hours on the roof of our hotel staring at Villa Melzi d’Eril across the lake right next to Bellagio? A large part of my day is spent smiling, for a half-life, for many people I half-like; all I want to do is just squint and memorize a villa’s chimneys and windows without time. And the clouds, the mountain tops, and Switzerland nearby. Or just get drunk on prosecco after prosecco after prosecco after prosecco. And binge on all these prosciutto-wrapped melon chunks.

12. “Old” looks right here. Every attempt in America at classic and pretty looks like shit compared to this. This, this is stone, this is REAL mold.

13. Apparently taking profiteroles “to go” is the equivalent of raping someone’s mom. Wow he’s really looking at me like I just fucked his mom.

14. Who knew, rubbing melting profiteroles all over my boyfriend’s face, with Carlo Buti’s “Primo Amore” playing softly in the background, with the windows open to the mountain air, here in our hotel on the Land O’ Lakes, could be so erotic.

15. Everything feels like sweet sweet butter and chocolate and wine and the way we’re all supposed to live.

16. American music is seriously everywhere, maybe because, besides Carlo Buti, Italian music kinda sucks ass? Italians do lakeside villages best, and bubbly water with gas.

17. I guess Americans do music, and bubbly drones with gas.

18. Richard Branson should really build a new spaceport called Spaceport Como at his villa here, because if the aliens ever do visit us they’ll most likely land at our spaceport, and this is a much better example of the best of our earth than frickin’ New Mexico.

19. Fuckin’ Cheryl, look at her. She skis part of the year in the Alps, runs a restaurant part of the year in Lake Como, and spends the rest of the year either traveling or living in London. Of course she and her cute Italian husband make the most perfect risotto – with prosecco and fresh peppercorns. And pasta with fresh garden herbs. Or mimosas with fresh peach juice – her peaches – and the most perfect homemade limoncello.

20. What a whore.

21. I really want people like this to be assholes, or crippled or something, something defective, but no – fuckin’ LAKE COMO CHERYL is the sweetest person in the world.

22. I think I might throw up from this bus ride.

23. Oh, my, this train is really fast. Japanese trains are better than American trains. Korean trains are too. And Italian trains. American trains really, really suck.

24. Every goddamn street corner in Rome is the most wizardly corner and the most magical cobblestone scene I’ve honestly ever seen. And here I thought the Meatpacking District looked cool because of a couple stupid cobblestones. Every city I’ve been to thus far looks like a garbage dump compared to Rome. Garbage!

25. Who knew, The Coliseum was actually built by the Jews. Let’s be honest, is there anything truly awesome in the world that wasn’t built by the Jews? Looooooooove theeeeeem.

26. Here on “Gay Street” especially, I now know that the most beautiful men are in fact not in Italy, but in New York. Many people have said that all the Italians are on vacation. Well, I hope so because these men look like chubby-legged praying mantises. I’m happy for them though; machismo seems to be lifting a bit. Well, a lot. That was glitter.

27. You gotta be kidding me. There’s a Korean family flossing together on the steps of St. Peters. They’re doing it in unison; they look like they’re playing the violin, rosining the strings on their bows with plaque.

28. The late afternoon light that’s shining through the windows of St. Peters makes me want to pee my pants a little and start doing ballet at the same time. I kinda feel like throwing rose pedals everywhere and sliding around on all this marble and gold. I’m thunderstruck; there really is something to building things over 175 years, more than one generation, so that things last more than one generation.

29. The tombs below are more interesting than the great halls above. All these dead popes, and they were all different and a lot of them were humanists and shameless art collectors – weirdly obsessed even.

30. These French people in front of us at the Vatican museum have proven yet again that many stereotypes are often very pungently and poignantly true, because these French girls smell like feces.

31. I want to kill myself and burn this whole damn building down, and we haven’t even reached the Sistine Chapel yet and it’s been hours and I feel like I’m connected to a thousand-strong stinky human centipede slowly slithering by all this art that should probably be sold to feed the poor. Sarah Silverman was right.

32. Wait, we aren’t even allowed to take a selfie with Adam not touching God!? Oh fuck you people. {tap}

33. Who the hell said Americans invented pizza? This is obviously better. You too Chicago; yuh need to shush.

34. This little mostly-empty church with a soprano choir is doing a much better job at letting me hear and see God than all of that art and all those columns and stinky people and mummified popes.

35. Oh here it comes. The candles. The sound. This sound seems to transcend all of our human efforts; I’m reminded that sometimes all we can do is just sing forth, from some kind of divine creativity and humility from within, a power that we can all draw upon regardless of language or culture or religion, and all our obsessions with do-this and do-that, and just be still, and sing, and LOVE!

36. Yep, that’s . . . I’m crying.

37. The Trastevere district of Rome is just as refreshing as this Aperol Spritz here at Grazia and Graziella’s restaurant. It’s earthy, weathered, and selective, yet still young, bubbly, and fresh. Trastevere feels like the Williamsburg of Rome, and Aperol is Brooklyn Lager.

38. My boyfriend’s green eyes match that tree behind him and the fried green artichoke between us – that old, old, old tree. How many family trees have come and gone, trees of people who have looked at this same green, green tree?

39. This, this is one of those rare moments perfectly in balance between all that you want and all that you have.

40. Dear Blood-thirsty Pagan Roman gods, thank you for American Wifi, Weeee-Feeee in Italian, because all across this country, even here in frickin’ Rome, the internet sucks. TIM is the largest internet provider here, and their ad campaign is as ill-thought as their internet is ill-provided: “Italy IS Internet.” What? Oh is it now? Is Italy really the internet?

41. I really wish the lingua franca were Italian; I wish I were Italian. But, do Italians get sick of Italian food? There’s really no other options it seems, even though it’s clear that – among other old arts – they’ve perfected the art of the sandwich. Porketta, prosciutto, mozzarella, arugula, and the bread even chews better. It smells better. The coffee is phenomenally better.

42. Can you get sick of phenomenally better?

43. Starbucks is a great brand, yes, but Italy, Italy IS coffee! It’s always served in little white porcelain espresso cups, which always make you want to stick your lil’ horsey tongue allll the way in there and get every last bit of it, grunting and whinnying and farting on your stool. And then you attempt to put the cup inside your mouth, or in your pocket. It’s like what Buddha always said, “Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, the truth, and go Starfuck yourself.”

44. Are we? Are we really doing this? Yes, we ARE doing this. We are actually chasing nuns down alleyways to get a picture – Come on now, ladies . . . Little pic-y, pic-y!?


46. I think they have special sneakers. Maybe their head coverings act as capes that make them more aerodynamic.

47. Oh look there’s Marco Polo.

48. There’s a weirdo-woman wearing plastic gloves next to us, and she’s fingering her change. I feel bad for her; she’s trapped in her own fears, but really I just want to slap her and rip her gloves off. Calm down; here’s some Purell you crazy fuck.

49. Do these thick walls of this ancient city somehow add flavor to things, as if by the sun’s steeping, some ancient taste exudes into all food, even street snacks, even bottled peach juice?

50. I want a Fiat. Somehow – especially the older ones – they seem to lock up all of Italy inside their metal, easily-crushable cuteness with four wheels made of fresh pizza, with a fuel tank filled with homemade red wine. Even the little trucks! I WANT A FIAT EVERYTHING. If not, if you come to Italy and you don’t want a Fiat, then you’re dead inside.

51. Just like your dead mother.

52. Dinner time, or really every time, is always time to experiment with new pasta. I think I’ve ordered a different kind every meal. Tonight is “land snails” on pasta – Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

53. Aaaannnnnd, it’s pretty much a mound of steamed hermit crabs.

54. Any time Indian girls have thick Britishy accents, it always seem to hold true – there’s a 50% chance that they will be complete whiney spoiled cunts who like to hear themselves complain, with their Britishy accents. One of these girls just ordered an entire massive fresh fish at “market” price and she honestly believes that her meal was supposed to be 7 euros, total.

55. The waiters are looking at the girl like she wants pasta with a mound of ball-sweat sauce.

56. Zeus-having-sex-with-Ra Bless American breakfast and its plentiful cardboardyness and its bacon, because although Panini’s are wonderful, it’s getting a liiiiiiiiiittle tiring eating these frickin’ perfect little pussy sandwiches all the time.

57. The Pantheon is better than the Taj Mahal, the Empire State Building, you name it. It’s more affecting somehow. I feel a dark, dark past, past gods killed off, new ones begun, so many fires lit, so much incense lit, the things, people, animals sacrificed, the hymns sung to the underworld and to the heavens, pagan prayers, Christian prayers, this place and that place, intertwined as one prayer and one place, exciting the open-air hole in the roof.

58. Marcus, our AirBnB host, is incessantly Windexing the floor with a dirty rag in front of us. Is this a Roman tradition? Why is he always wiping near our feet and Windexing our shoes as soon as we come back from walking Rome all day?

59. This apple is good and this kitchen has lovely shutters with a wonderful view. OH GOD MARCUS IS MASSAGING MY FEET. He’s untying my shoes. His eyes are closed. He’s Windexing my toes now.

60. Oh god he’s really sniffing my toes.

61. I meeeeean a little weird Italian Windex-massage won’t hurt as long as he doesn’t start licking my my toes. I’ll just tell him not to lick, “Marcus, No Lick, kaaaaaaaaaay?” When in Rome . . .

62. AirBnB can be a little awkward.

63. New York is a buffet of immigrant cultures all in one messy-wonderful cluster-fuck, and here, Rome is an ancient parfait, culture, piled upon culture, piled upon culture previously conquered. Greek gods, below Egyptian obelisks, below Christian crosses. It’s shameless about its roots, its empire of old, how it managed most of the world. It’s obvious all power used to roam in Rome.

64. The train from Naples to Sorrento is kind of a scary rickety dump – Oh wonderful, here’s a teenage gypsy gang. Great. They’re slapping some girl. Maybe we should step in? I think I’m going to step –


66. Got. Daym. I kinda wanna be a gypsy girl. Then again, maybe I already am? Maybe we all are?

67. Great they’re all staring at us now. Wait, what, whaaaaaaat are they asking us? Maybe I should hide my wallet. What the fuck does that mean? They probably have knives hidden in those damn accordians! Phew-weee, my left arm pit smells something awful again.

68. Ohhhhhhhhhh, they just wanted to know if we go to the gym because they like our biceps.

69. Kiwi backpackers are luscious. I actually want to eat their lips. I want to pour white wine all over their lips. And then eat them. I want to eat Kiwi lips. Give me, give me, give me Kiwi lips. Give ‘em.

70. Give me those Kiwi lips.

71. Whereas our AirBnB host in Rome clearly had a foot fetish, our new host in Piano di Sorrento is apparently a complete stoner who forgets to make our “breakfast included.” Yep, mmmmm, that is indeed the same stale croissant from yesterday.

72. Eating this Panini by the waters of the Mediterranean and drinking this beer couldn’t be more serene. Oh neat there’s a little black stray kitty. Heeeeey little kitty, awwww. Maybe I’ll give you a little prosciutto?

73. Oh Lordy little kitty… is it, yep, oh don’t throw up. Wait are you choking!? Oh dear Italy-Kitty please don’t die!

74. Uh, Hmmm. Should we throw Italy-Kitty into the sea?

75. Woah those Mexican boys are jumping off the rocks of Bagni Regina Giovanni, and, WOAH, that kid almost hit his head. I’m dreaming of blood clouding up the perfectly teal water of this secret rocky lagoon, and this secret perfect day. Please don’t ruin my first Italian vacation by cracking your skull.

76. There are scuba divers with Go-Pros swimming next to me. There are Mexican teenagers jumping off rocks. There are French couples – who don’t stink – bathing in the sun. Italians are doing swan dives into the sea next to old Italian men in little boats fishing lazily in the sea. There’s a school group sleeping on the rocks and a few of them are playing the flute. I’m hearing waves. I’m hearing flutes. People laughing. I see Vesuvius and I’m pretty sure I’m sunburnt, but I don’t care.

77. I feel so happy I could erupt and asphyxiate and entomb this entire day with a jizz-ash and urine and roses and prosciutto and joy! And, and, and . . . jizz!

78. I hope this Aperol Spritz never ends. I think I’m addicted to Aperol Spritzes. Well, and gelato. And coffee. And pasta. This is gonna be tough getting back on Paleo. I want another Aperol Spritz.

79. How the hell do they make pistachio gelato actually taste like pistachio? I guess they actually use pistachio.

80. These mussels are actually popping in my mouth they’re so fresh. Each one feels like a cartoon Disney movie beginning and ending with every bite, oozing salty cartoon color swirls around my tongue. I feel like I’m eating Ariel.

81. Ariel, you’re fucking delicious.

82. I could eat this homemade malfatti (mala-fatty?) pasta for the rest of my life. Should I order another plate of it?

83. I think I’m gonna order another plate of it.

84. And another bottle of wine.

85. And profiteroles.

86. And gelato.

87. Look at those motherfuckers coming in on that fucking fat yacht.

88. Of course they have spoiled brat children that are just as gargantuan and whining about lobster. Ohhhhh poor bay-beee you don’t want mussels, you want lobster? You know what, someone needs to get spanked is what.

89. With the exception of the woman next to me and her phlegmy cigarette voice that’s reminding me of the Tales from the Crypt guy, watching the Italian countryside smear by in a blur of sunflowers and old farmhouses and rows of grapes is much better than taking a plane.

90. I think I’m more impressed with the exorbitant amount of pigeons next to the Duomo here in Milan than the actual building. I mean it’s pretty and all, but –

91. Ewe, what’s wrong with that pigeon?

92. Oh no I think he’s dead. But, hold on a sec . . . what are . . . what are those other pigeons doing to it, sniffing it?

93. Awwwe, you must be sad for your dead friend, huh . . .


95. Jeeeee-zeus-caesar-cristo. Okay now they’re all lining up. They’re lining up to fuck that dead pigeon.

96. Duomo really is pretty, but the soldiers guarding it are even better. Finally found the hot Italian men. They’re guarding the Duomo.

97. Our waiter just poured a house red wine and told us that New York is “like a dream” for him, and we told him THIS was like a dream for us.

98. I guess you can get sick of anything after a while, and the only cure is to leave from one amazing place and go to another amazing place, and get a good look at a dead pigeon getting fucked in front of an ancient building, or get a good look at your feet getting sniffed by a creepy man, or eat and see and smell and hear some of the most wonderful things our planet has ever concocted, like water mixed with gas, or the marble of the Pieta, or the color of the bath of a queen, because then you’ll come back smelling like cigarettes and coffee, and feeling like this.

99. Ciao New York, HELLO MY BELLO!

100. Prego . . . now Leggo my Eggo.

Check out American Cream, a memoir by Micah Enloe, here.