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skot AT izzlepfaff DOT com

Wednesday, 15 November
Movin' To The Country, Gonna Eat A Lot Of Olives


My tens of readers are getting a break. The wife and I are going on vacation for a few weeks, and so Izzle Pfaff will be mercifully silent until at least December 7. So y'all are going to have to get your RDA of strained metaphors, clumsy profanity and pointless, overfreighted verbosity from somewhere else for a while. Fortunately for everybody, there's always Fox News.

Where are you going? I hear you all asking. Is it somewhere uncomfortably humid and with lots of feces lying around? Somewhere unpleasant? Please let it be unpleasant. That's what everyone has been asking us. The guy who cuts my hair just asked me this, and when I told him, he was not pleased. In fact, he was envious. (Really!) He was so envious, in fact, that he literally stamped his foot with jealousy. I'm not sure I've ever seen an actual human stamp a foot before. But he did. Then he proceeded to spitefully give me the worst haircut I've ever had in my life.

(One thing I like about getting my hair cut is that it tends to make me look younger. In fact, minutes after the haircut was finished, I was buying some wine at the grocery store and the cashier carded me. "You're making my day!" I chirped. "Did you really need to make sure I was over 21?" She stared at the top of my skull and replied, "I needed to make sure you were really human.")

So anyway. On Tuesday, the wife and I leave for Italy. We're taking a lovely nonstop flight out from Seattle and then spending a few contemplative hours at Heathrow to have our rectums politely examined--hopefully from harrumphing, mustachioed fellows smoking briar pipes and saying "I say! No hexplosives up this one's bum! Roight!"--and then on to Rome.

We're only spending a couple days in Rome, though. We have been once before--for one whole day--in 2001, where we dashed around madly, managing to see the Vatican and the Colosseum before we had to madly dash somewhere else . . . I think it was Naples. (At the time, we were experiencing severe travel madness; this time, we basically have no excuse.) Anyway! Maybe this time we can bag us a new Pope sighting! (We got blessed by good old John Paul the Sequel back in 2001--along with about 10,000 of our closest friends at St. Peter's--so we figure if we can get blessed twice, we basically can give God a wedgie if we feel like it. This is leaving aside the fact that neither of us are Catholics, but hey, these guys don't have to keep blessing us.)

Our big destination for week one is a little town in Tuscany called Arezzo. Through an astonishing website that a friend clued us into, we are renting an actual apartment in the city; an apartment that opens right onto the fucking town piazza.

This is awesome.

One, it's not a hotel. It's an apartment. It has a bedroom. It has a GREAT BIG FRESCO OF JESUS in the bedroom, right opposite the bed, actually, which, uh . . . well, that might be distracting. BUT IT'S STILL AWESOME! ("Honey, you feel like . . . you know . . . ?" "But . . . He's . . . staring at us." "Sigh." "But this is awesome." "It's getting slightly less awesome for me." We'll see.)

For another thing, and nothing on giganto-cities, but I have found that most of the time when I am traveling, that I really kind of love the more village-y places, the small towns that you can walk through on foot, and where you see the same regulars in the same places every day. I'm looking forward to finding that place where, without ever quite knowing you've decided, magically becomes that place where you end up every day at 2:00 for a sandwich or a drink. I can't wait to meet all the characters who own the little shops who crinkle their faces in pleasure to see a new face, someone new that they can show off their stuff to, to say, This is what I do! I do it very well, don't you think? And I always love finding out that, most of the time, they're absolutely right, and telling them so.

I cannot wait.

Oh, and as if all this weren't enough, we're spending four days in Florence after that. Florence, home of the Uffizi Gallery, the tiny museum that just happens to house the most heart-stoppingly concentrated collection of Renaissance art that you can find--and comprehensively tour in under three hours. If I were even remotely religious, this place would be church for me.

And then, of course, there is also--walking distance away--the Accademia. Nothing special here. Just David. Just the most beautiful piece of physical art that I've ever seen in my life. Just the only inanimate object that I ever found myself falling in love with. The only thing that it was wrenchingly difficult to leave, to take my eyes from.

I have heard songs, seen paintings, read books, many times, that made me intensely jealous and awed. Jealous because I want to create art on that level. But I do not. Awed for similar reasons, but awe also for the artist: How did he/she think of that? Could I ever come up anything close to that? But I cannot. David, while it does these things, also provokes this in me: it makes me feel small. I am utterly unable to conceive of the creation of its perfection. Its beauty is palpable and unknowable and nearly inhuman. I am diminished and imperfect in its presence, and I am so small in the knowledge that such a thing is so beyond my ken--in its conception and execution and its existence--I have no choice but to simply rejoice in it, in my tiny way. For me, David nearly inspires something I would in other contexts call penitence. And I don't even know why or what for.

I have been longing to see Michelangelo's David again since the moment I stopped looking at it five years ago. I would posit that it is simply the most beautiful thing ever created by man. This is of course a matter of opinion, and is also of course intensely personal. All I can say is: I really look forward to feeling small again.

I can't wait to get there. And I can't wait to come back to write about it. You're never going to get a David out of me, of course. But the point of David is: You should try.

Roam | Skot | 15 Nov, 2006 |

Note: Comments are closed on old entries.


Things you should know:

- You will meet way more English people in Tuscany than in Heathrow Airport. (or in London for that matter)
- If you find the time, Adrian’s Villa just outside of Rome is pretty amazing.
- If you want to blend in while in Arezzo just wear your sunglasses on the top of your head. Yes, even in December.
- You should learn the hand gestures as quickly as possible.
- Yes that Vespa IS going to hit you if you don’t get out of its way.
- After a second visit, I think your allowed to call him Dave.
- Q: What does the Oval Office and Michelangelo’s David have in common?
A: They’d both look OK if it wasn’t for the little dick. (boom-tish)

Comment number: 009006   Posted by: Lung the Younger on November 16, 2006 01:17 AM from IP:

You will meet way more English people in Tuscany than in Heathrow Airport. (or in London for that matter)

Not that I have anything against the English--far from it--but do you suppose this is really true even in November? This is why we travel at such an unpopular time: so we don't have to deal much with other visitors.

At any rate, I don't care much. Maybe I'll make the British press after Russell Crowe flings something at my head. Watch out, Page 3 girls! Here I come!

Comment number: 009011   Posted by: Skot on November 16, 2006 07:42 AM from IP:

I will miss you. I seem to have developed that weird internet thingy where I feel a connection to you based soley on the fact that you make more sense than anyone in my real life. Arrive aderci, bon vivant.Tell Dave I said..."Dave!"
I will diet whilst you are away, so that upon your return I will represent only one tenth of your readership, rather than say, one 12th.

Comment number: 009013   Posted by: alyxmyself on November 16, 2006 08:17 AM from IP:

First, I was confused when this entry took an utterly unsarcastic turn. Then, the comments!

Russell Crowe is Australian, so if you are basing this on Lung's Theory of Brits, you will need to hope for John Cleese or Paul McCartney to fling something at you.

One 12th is smaller than one tenth!

You are leaving and the world is no longer making sense to me. Also, I noticed a lot of Germans in Tuscany, but that was June/July. I wonder if it is possible, that you might actually run into a lot of Italians.

Comment number: 009016   Posted by: Amanda on November 16, 2006 10:46 AM from IP:

What was the website? Please, spread the clue.

Comment number: 009018   Posted by: Cyrano on November 16, 2006 11:50 AM from IP:

Though I managed to obscure it nicely, I do know that Mr. Crowe is an Aussie. I was more making fun of the English tabloid press, which, honestly, I kind of love for their gleeful ferocity.

Cyrano, check it out, yo:

Thanks all. See you in a while. *makes Italianate gestures*

Comment number: 009019   Posted by: Skot on November 16, 2006 12:15 PM from IP:

Oh, you actually moved me to teary-eyedness with your talk of smallness. I'm happy stuff like that exists.

Comment number: 009033   Posted by: Jennifer on November 16, 2006 12:52 PM from IP:

This will probably be moot: have a wonderful trip.

Comment number: 009077   Posted by: special k on November 16, 2006 02:30 PM from IP:

Didn't Michelangelo say that David was already in the marble before he chiseled away the debris? Maybe there's a David in you if you just chisel away enough excess marble. :)

Comment number: 009080   Posted by: Diesel on November 16, 2006 02:40 PM from IP:

Clearly this is going to be a good vacation if even YOU are moved to be blissfully, fucking positive.

Have a great time, you bastard.

Comment number: 009083   Posted by: kerewin on November 16, 2006 06:39 PM from IP:

I liked the feces part.

Comment number: 009085   Posted by: Kate on November 16, 2006 11:05 PM from IP:

you're such a pussy, Skot

Comment number: 009088   Posted by: dusty on November 17, 2006 08:08 AM from IP:

That sounds super-awesome. I went to a dark chocolate tasting recently and they had the best chocolate ever, made from the Criollo bean. The best chocolate in the world is made from the white Criollo bean (rare rare rare), grown in Venezuela. Then it is created into dark perfect chocolate in (here's the point) Tuscany. It's called Amadei Porcelana. It's hard to find, but give it a shot. You won't be dissapointed. And have a great trip.

Comment number: 009090   Posted by: rothbeastie on November 17, 2006 09:54 AM from IP:

Uber thanks, man. Have a good trip.

Comment number: 009094   Posted by: Cyrano on November 17, 2006 02:09 PM from IP:

Tell the wife to wear her ass-pads, and be prepared at all times to defend her honor while staring in admiration at David's cheeks. Most of us only pinch women's asses in our daydreams, but in Italy, it is likely one of the many hand gestures that you (she) will encounter. Hell, they even pinched my mom's ass.

Comment number: 009103   Posted by: spinal on November 17, 2006 10:36 PM from IP:

holy moly, you're going to the birthplace of the sonnet! have fun, skot!

Comment number: 009115   Posted by: you don't know me from guittone on November 18, 2006 02:44 PM from IP:

If you don't have room in Florence, I can recommend this place.

Comment number: 009222   Posted by: on November 22, 2006 04:15 PM from IP:

I look forward to your dinner report after you have dined at the Best Goddamn Restaurant in Europe Goddamnit.

Comment number: 009268   Posted by: Snark on November 24, 2006 11:38 AM from IP:

Arezzo is lovely. We stayed in Siena for several days, took the wrong bus and ended up in Arezzo, and it was wonderful. Hope you have a great time!

Comment number: 009303   Posted by: Candi on November 25, 2006 02:31 PM from IP:

Bring Jesus a pair of sunglasses. Or maybe a blindfold. Whatever it takes to not make him cry.

Comment number: 009369   Posted by: niels on November 26, 2006 08:30 PM from IP:

Hi. I didn't know you'd developed a taste for Renaissance art. Drop me a line if you'd like to dish about it, I kept studying sculpture since we last spoke. Rocky

Comment number: 009450   Posted by: Rocco Lieuallen on November 28, 2006 10:55 AM from IP:

Thanks for letting me know you're out of the country. I just robbed your house.
Man, you guys don't have shit.

Comment number: 009499   Posted by: Bazhole on November 29, 2006 02:35 PM from IP:

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