Come stanno, amici? Your intrepid pal TR is about to depart on a five-day work trip across the pond. My company has me visiting with clients in Milan, Lugano, Zurich and London. Other than the “You can’t get TOO hung over during the week” limitation, it should be a good time. I’ve become good at finding the “almost as drunk as I want to be” gear during work trips. Advil, a pint of water and six hours of sleep is usually enough to keep me functional the next day and thirsty the next night.
I managed to convince the wife that I need to head over on Saturday evening (landing on Sunday morning) to get acclimated. Unfortunately for me, a change in my itinerary has me landing in Milan instead of London, meaning no dice for seeing a Premier League match on Sunday (I had my eyes on you, Tottenham-Everton match at White Hart Lane!).
Amid the despair, I checked the Serie A schedule and noticed that AC Milan has a home match at their massive San Siro stadium (capacity 80,000+) against a squad called Udinese that I confess to never having heard of before. A quick review of the “tables” tells me AC Milan is a disappointing seventh, following a draw against Inter last week, while Udinese is eighth. So I ponied up some cash and may actually see a competitive match. To avoid having to fist-fight swarthy strangers, and to indulge this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, I ponied up and bought a good lower level seat. So I will root out loud for AC Milan, root quietly for a good match, and try not to choke on the cologne from the swartharazzi in the crowd.
From there, I will have a night to kill while fighting the jet-lag. It will be hard for me to make REALLY poor decisions out there because the red hot night action starts too late and I will be waking at/before 7 AM every day. But I’ll try. I have one year of Italian under my belt (courtesy of William & Mary’s policy of having foreign language majors take one year of another language), so I can speak a tiny bit, which should create some unintentional comedy. And speaking Italian is pretty fun. My go-to phrase is “Mi piacerebbe parlare Italiano megliore”, which roughly translates to “I wish I could speak Italian better”. This phrase is a double-edged sword. It spells out my limited language skills, but delves into the oft-tricky future conditional tense. That’s an odd tense to use when what you’re saying is you can’t speak that language well. In reality, my mantra is “Mi piace mangiare tutto il cibo. Dove sta il vino?”
[Somewhat related note: deciding with three semesters left in your college career to transition from a major (Finance) / minor (Spanish) to a double-major is DUMB, DUMB, DUMB. I made that move, one of myriad poor decisions I made in Williamsburg, and graduated with 130 credits when I needed 120. I took 49 credits my last three semesters while people like Zman focused on arranging their schedule such that they wouldn’t have Thursday or Friday classes. And this move didn’t do much for my pedestrian GPA, although I was a rock star in Italian 101 as a senior.]
So wish me luck. I have a possibly excessive fear of being drugged in a strange area, so that will keep me in check (somewhat). The only problem I foresee is a repeat of a trip to Spain I had a decade ago, when I had so much jamon ibearico and vino rioja over a couple days that I lost a lot of weight. In a hurry. In a working class village in Madrid. That was having a street fair. At night. No bueno. That was one of the worst memories of that trip. Not the payback I was hoping for after seeking out a suckling pig entrée at the world’s oldest restaurant. That wasn’t even my worst moment on that trip. That honor gues to the time I literally tripped into a Tommy Chong impostor in Ibiza who had just shot heroin in his arm on a random outside staircase in an old castle. Way creepy to see a guy in the throes of that “Holy shit. The heroin is coursing through me” moment. The needle was still in his arm. Weird.
In London, my biggest fear is drunkenly bragging about my near pristine dentistry or pledging my love for Manchester United in the wrong setting. Wish me luck.This Streets song is a guilty pleasure party song.