Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Living. Home or not.

Many singers I know find themselves residing in hotels. Usually our accommodation is not paid by our employer but by us, and so it is our choice to decide where to stay. Hotels have their own advantage of course; You can make a mess and it gets cleaned up, you usually have cable TV, and if you are precious, you can get the food, or whatever else you need when you need it, served on a silver plate.
Some singers feel that as we sacrifice so much, being on the road, being alone, being on a crazy schedule, the least we can get in return (even if we spend our last cent on it) is the luxury of living like we are rich.
However, hotel living, just like fancy- living, leaves you on a certain boring level of living; a bit detached.
Hotels are not where the real people of the city live. Those people, (or : most people) don't pay 150 to 250 Euros a night, they don't get cabs everywhere, and they are most certainly in charge of their own coffee in the morning and meals during the day (or night if they are being naughty...).
So when I go on an opera gig (which usually lasts a month or two ), I look for an apartment.
When you live in an apartment which is already a living part of the city, a part which existed before you arrived and will exist after you leave, you immediately get infused into that city.
I like the real face of a city, with its wrinkles and sun spots; with it's elders and its youth, the natives and the foreigners, the markets and the public transportation, I love rush hour. I love the dogs in the park, (here there are cats too!) the cafes and all that surrounds me; the reality that doesn't belong to me yet, but I wish to adopt.
I recently met another fellow singer who was just finishing her opera performances here, and as I came the following day to say hello to her at the hotel where she's been staying, I passed by the hotel's restaurant, where I saw her sitting all by herself. She was the only person there.
When the waiter finally appeared, she talked to him briefly, ordering her usual dish of pasta and as he left to place her order, she was all alone again, staring at the distant art work on the wall, which I assume she knew all too well by now.
My heart missed a beat. At that moment I saw her life, OUR life, as it can be with all its loneliness squeezed into one split second. You will never ever find me dining at a restaurant by myself. I would rather get some stuff at the supermarket, or not eat at all.
Maybe I am simply afraid of being alone.
Here in Rome, I am staying in an apartment which belongs to a fellow colleague, who is singing somewhere else. Of course, apartment living gets you into the veins of the city but also forces you to hear the pulse even when you don't want to.
This morning I woke up way too early to the sound of my upstairs neighbor walking on her high heels. I thought she was just getting ready to leave the house. But hey, I forgot Italian women like their stilettos, leaving the house or staying in... The little steps continued to plunk over my head back and forth the entire morning.
So my sleeping here, as you probably know already, is not really all that satisfying.
But even so, I somehow love hearing a real passionate Italian domestic argument in the middle of the night. I triumph accepting a letter on the behalf of my landlord, pretending it is for me. I rejoice in buying a bunch of bananas and a Kilo mandarins from the local fruit vendor. You should try those mandarins here; So sweet and filled with goodness!

1 Comments:

Blogger Petie said...

Little Rini...

I'll be there soon

8:26 AM  

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