Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Three days into the traveling, and I'm finally getting a chance to update. Long plane flights of sleeping, reading, watching a movie I can't even remember now. Then arrival in Florence and our apartment--whether it will turn out to be so for the entire next three months remains to be seen. The building itself is some 400-500 years old. The apartment is four, five or six flights up depending on where you start counting. That's 66 stairs though. Our luggage originally went up on a chair that was something like a mining wagon. It moved very slowly.

Inside was charming but small, even cramped--in fact, we're bumping our heads on beams. The toilet and the shower are together, the shower hanging above the toilet, so only one activity can be carried on at any one time. Unless one showers while on the toilet, or vice-versa, which would be unmentionable, except that as Molloy I can mention it.

I've finished my first day of classes--only miffed one student who felt my abbreviation of Christianity as "X'y" verged on the blasphemous since I had left out the most important part: "Christ." I allowed as how the "X" might be construed as a cross leaning sideways, which would reincorporate the most significant part of the Christian experience. In the music class, I unrolled my roll-up piano, installed the four batteries and held forth with various simple examples, moderately well played, if I can be permitted to give myself a moderate compliment. The classes are fun, and I'm not averse to having the next couple of days to get into museums ahead of the students and plot out a course of class action.

We nearly walked our feet off yesterday, getting lost on the way to dinner at my lead teacher's apartment, then nearly getting lost on the way back, except that we were saved by my wife's trusty GPS. I have to admit that I initially suspected the GPS of being wrong--never mind that it was sighting on the information from 12 satellites watching our every move from orbit. I was convinced my direction was right and the satellites were against us--after all, astrologers say the stars can be against us at one time or another, and, to judge from the number of readers of astrology pages, the astrologers can't be wrong! So, I concluded that the satellites were very likely hostile as well, determined to lure us into the mountains and lose us beyond help. But I gave way at the last minute (not to mention that the wielder of the GPS refused to walk one more step in a direction opposite to science). Sure enough, the GPS directed us to our apartment, where we bumped our heads on the beams and timed each other in the shower.

This demonstrates, I believe, that science should be regarded with some respect. I was wrong, as is anyone who relies on gut instinct, intuition, and faith for guidance in important matters. I have learned my lesson. No more Intelligent Design for me! I'll take the good news from the heavenly bodies any time. This makes me feel much better, of course, because now I can, in good faith, go back to the astrology page and read it with a new sense of confidence in its forecasts and predictions. If the satellites can get us home, the stars can direct us to wealth and happiness. Besides, I read all the horoscopes and choose the one that suits my mood best for that particular day. Perhaps this is the best solution--a compromise between reason and blind preference.

This evening, we may head for St. Croce and a ceremony involving children, which, I have been assured, is not a slaughter of the innocents.


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