Thursday, November 09, 2006

Dancing in the end zone......

OK.....Grumpy Puss was wrong. The Republicans didn't rally at the last minute, and there actually is a fighting chance at returning America to at least a partial democracy.

Just remember.....Democrats suck, too. This is why we have plagued by the Bushies 'ere these last six years.

Or, maybe it is my fault..........

In 2000 for the elections, Carolynn and I did the absentee thing and flew to Italy for vacation. On election eve, we were at Acquamatta in Capolona, outside Arezzo in the Cosentino.

We had driven over the Consuma Pass from Firenze on the way toward the hive of the Camaldolis and St. Francis' old mountain retreat at La Verna. We were completely entranced..... in the literal sense of the word. No one told us that Italy would have Alpine villages in the middle of Tuscany.....or vast expanses of blank territory, just sitting there waiting for Wal-Marts or moto-cross tracks. We hit Poppi, with its Puff-The-Magic-Dragon castle and were absolutely stunned into some kind of medieval fit. Then up the road towards the Camaldoli's.

There was a driving storm....thunder and lightning. Wind. Crashing trees on the road. The road wound up into the mountains and got smaller and windier and gloomier....full on Cachagua style. We saw wild boar in the road. We saw a fucking STAG in the road......not a deer, but a fucking stag! The trance went well beyond the mystical and into the creepy and scary.

The monastery, closely affiliated with our boys in Lucia in Big Sur, was huge and dark and completely deserted. Lit by torches. Did I mention the thunder and lightning? Eventually a sweet old monk, Brother Thomas....a former Big Sur-ian, found us and in lieu of tour showed us into the gift shop. We passed on mass (Carolynn is a fairly vigorous anti-cleric) and drifted back down the mountain in the storm. What pussies! Edith Wharton continued on up the mountain in 1915 to the cells at La Verna. The road was so steep the monks had to use ropes to pull her car up. Not us......We felt like the teenagers in Scary Movie: "There MUST be a reason there are no living humans anywhere in sight......"

Anyway, the Michelin Red Guide listed a one-star in Capolona, just a few clicks away, so....why not? This would be our first one-star, and we were intimidated, spell or no. We changed in the parking lot, and felt like fucking Americans. The rain kept pounding down......and there was STILL no one around.

Acquamatta turns out to be about the most charming, beautiful restaurant you could ever find anywhere. It is built right on the Arno in an ancient old mill, and the water flows almost through the dining room. The room is quiet and contemplative.....but the owners are partiers. They actually love food and service, and their enthusiasm shows everywhere. It is the opposite of pretentious.

Anyway, we ate and ate. Pigeons and trouts and weird river shellfish and lamb and killer cheeses and wines and grappa and chocolates and creams and cheeses and wines and grappas and champagne and strange birds and torta crema mascarpone.......there may have even been cigars.

We were beyond hammered. We were psychically, emotionally, sensually, gastronomically and alcoholicly blasted into some new dimension by our day and night. I felt like the Indian who sold Manhattan for the beads: "Take the fucking place......some beads? Perfect!"

Luckily, the owners have an insane friend with a hotel only a kilometer away....and we were able to motor there successfully.

Of course, there were no hotel people around when we arrived at 2am. The gentleman we took to be the owner bought us cognacs in the bar and gave us a key to a nice room. Turns out he was just another drunk, but no matter. The hotel is full of the weirdest antiques and mementos one could imagine......picture Timothy Leary's maiden aunt's lifetime collection of garage sale gems. Typewriters, skiis, elk heads, antique wheel chairs and washing machines in the hallways. Wild cats running around, like that. (La Gravenna in Subbiano, if you ever go there).

Anyway......I think Carolynn was overserved. I was definitely overserved. There may have been barfing. I couldn't tell if I was communing with St. Francis or in the midst of an LSD driven day-glo migraine. In the morning there definitely were brutal hangovers, both from the food and all the booze and the psychic journey.


I didn't think a hangover could last six years........I have felt personally responsible all this time. If I just had not had that Vino Santo.....and that grappa pairing.......and stayed away from the scary monk. And what about the fucking STAG?

Maybe finally it is over......

To ultimately slay this dragon.......We needed an exorcism.

So, at this very moment our wine steward, Alex Lallos, is dining at Acquamatta with his Pops.......on our credit card (Acquamatta is good like card is on file there for any stray Feasters in the Cosentino). No matter how much Alex eats and won't turn out like last time.

That is my idea of an exorcism!


Blogger NVR2L82 said...

This is the true beauty of Michael Jones.... Despite your agressive nature to stand up for the rights of our world as whole; you never cease to amaze me with your appreciation of the "unplanned" part of our existence....

All my love to you, Amanda, your family, and the hard-working crew!!


5:35 PM  

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