Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Tues. Sept 13.

Walked and walked, stunned by reality: not all banks accept my ATM card. Called the credit union (in California) to ask, and they said, who knows--not all banks accept your credit card. But that was what I had already said. It was like listening to an echo. After exchanging pleasantries, Molloy decided that if not all banks were going to accept the card, the best plan was to keep trying until he found one that did, then camp out there, or at least remember which ATM machine worked. This plan is currently in force. A large "X" on the sidewalk directly in front of Banca Toscana marks the spot.

In the evening, the search for a geo-cache led us up a remote street along a garden wall like that of the Finzi-Continis, with a secret door (locked, even--Molloy tried it), then on up the hill through a very upscale section of Florence, then farther up to the Church of San Miniano, where we saw a beautiful sun set over the whole city of Florence and its surroundings.

Here is the legend that justified that spectacular piece of real estate being comandeered by the church: the namesake, St. Miniano, was martyred, but at the moment of his death, before collapsing, he picked up his decapitated head, trudged purposefully across the Arno River (apparently past the amazed crowds who had witnessed the execution), and climbed the hill to where the Church now stands. On that exact spot, he dropped his head, a beatific smile replacing the shock and pain of its grizzly countenance, and laid calmly down to eternal rest. The record does not inform us whether, in this miraculous burst of energy, he visited the cosmeticians and beauticians of the area for his ultimate settling-up with the grim reaper, or the Cafe Rifrullo, at the bottom of the hill, for tapas and wine--after all, if he can lug his head along on that hike, he could at least get some nutrition for the exertion and beautify (as well as beatify) himself to meet his Creator. Presuming that that effort, by itself, regardless of the quality of his prior life, would qualify him for entrance into Heaven. He might also, in winding up his earthly affairs, have closed out any ATM cards by leaving them in the slot for confiscation.

The crosswalks are clearly laid out, pedestrian signs are conspicuous, and even Italian drivers of cars and scooters would have been polite enough to let a headless man with a determined look pass uphill in peace.


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