Thursday, February 17, 2005


God it was bliss. I actually woke up kinda sad. Having a friend die while I’m way out here has made me feel pretty lonely. I am definitely having pangs of homesickness- especially since there is a funeral tomorrow that I would give anything to be at.

So I just decided to indulge myself and gorge myself on all things Rome. I figure I was gonna start school on Monday- but now I have a job interview for a job I really want on Monday- ( I want it so much I can’t even talk about it actually) so I’m not starting school, and so today is mine. Vacation. Do all the things I WANT today.. Indulge. Fall in love with Rome all over today.

So I did. I spent a long time at the internet point this morning- just emailing and surfing and said FUCK IT and just relaxed and hung out on line for a while…

Then I went to my favorite restaurant and sat in the corner and read my book and ate so slow. And had a 2 hour lunch by myself. God it was so great.

Then I drove all over the city…just cruzing. Pulled over and watched the tourist and the locals alike sit on the Spanish steps. I must have sat there for two hours before I realized my ass was so numb from the cold marble. People just came and went. 5 minutes. They came, took a look around. Sat down. Stood up, took a picture, admire the picture. And the got out the map. Spanish steps. Done. What’s next? Sitting there for 2 hours- I feel like I could never be done there. I want to see it in Spring, and summer, and august when it’s abandoned. An in the middle of the night. 5 minutes done. Not for me.

People are so funny. So many observations this afternoon at the Spanish steps. The awesome group of Italian teenage girls who after a long build up finally got up the courage to cross the steps and ask theteenage boys on the other side for a light for her cigarette. She plays it too cool though, and the guy doesn’t bite. It is enough for her and her friends to laugh about for a while- until they start taking pictures of themselves with their camera phone…. They all look like a European version of Avril Levine…. Both the boys and the girls…. Two older English ladies stop at the steps to consult the map and have a rest. They spread out a newspaper to sit on….. a 6 member well dressed American family stop at the steps. The 2 boys are the first to arrive, they look around and sit casually aching to fit in, little sister , younger brother, dad and finally mom follow. They all sit, mom stands. After a while they decide to meet back at the steps in 15 minutes. Dad and son climb the steps, mom and daughter go into the Channel store, and the first two just sit and try to look cool. A woman with bad highlights and an orange plastic coat is picking up garbage. She sighs and rolls her eyes, it seems the older English ladies have left their newspaper… “va fangula” she says under her breath. I wonder why she’s picking up trash. Community service? I wonder, Do they have that here? Seems far too organized for Italy… but I am resigned to all sorts of surprises here in Rome.

I drive around for a while. The sun is setting, and from the Villa Bourgese I can see the Vatican. St Peters Dome sitting majestically as the highest point in Rome. Then like something out of a Hitchcock movie the birds come. Thousands- hundreds of thousands flying, swooping, diving, gathering. It is like a ballet for birds. Magnificent. I jump on my bike and drive over to where they are. I find myself on a bridge to trastevere trying to take pictures. But it is dusk and so hard to get the right exposure. I need my 35mm goddamnit!!!! It is marvelous. I watch them till it’s dark and they just as suddenly as they emerged, they disperse. Where do they go I wonder? Do birds have favorite trees? Or do you think they swap it up?

I’ve never thought about birds before. My dad loves birds. I don’t even know what kinds these birds are. Black ones I reckon. But that’s about all I have to offer on the subject.

SO I go to the phone place, and I call my dad and my brother and nikki. And we talk for ages. Ahh it’s good to hear their voices. And it just seems so odd to me that I am not going to see them anytime soon. It’s so odd that this is my life now- this is my choice. And I wonder if I can really pull it off. If I can stay- and if it’s what I really want. Who knows? I want to be here right now, that much is clear. Will missing my people get easier? I imagine it can only get harder. I feel like it really hasn’t even hit me that I don’t live near my family anymore. Talking to them it was like…well, ok, see you tomorrow. But no, I won’t. I really don’t know WHEN the next time I’ll get to see them is. That is so odd.

29 and never lived away from my family. I mean college… but whatever. Carter was 45 minutes away for 2 years of that…and lets face it who remembers anything about college anyway.

I was standing in an Irish pub last night- Finnegan’s, my favorite. And I’ve gotten to know a lot of the people in there, and they have really embraced me there. They like me, and they invite me out…and it’s nice to feel like I have some sense of community out here. And it’s ex-pats from everywhere. New Zealand, England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, the States…. And there was a point last night where I felt, just really happy. I was a little drunk, and Jill had just made a toast to me “people ALWAYS say there gonna come back… you did Chase. You did”… and I’m looking around at these people- MY PEOPLE. No one I know knows these people. I made all these friends myself. And they like me. And I like them, and it’s cool. And we wanna do stuff, and make stuff together… and it’s great. And I look around and I realize of the 20 some-odd people in the bar- I can name about 10. And I feel comfortable. And I started to smile. Because IT WAS MINE. This moment was mine. I had found it last summer, and I made a decision and I followed thru, and I made it reality, and I earned it. IT WAS MINE. And it made me smile.


vic said...

im so proud of you, that i get nervous reading your stuff sometimes. in my head i go like, "whoa. thats amazing. whoa."

Chase Carter said...

you think YOU get nervous.....

nikki wiener said...

dude you're awesome!! i miss you sooo much.

roberto schaefer said...

chase- I just read your comment about the birds. Did Ermanno show you his videos - "Storni" ?
it is the bird ballet. He tried to get me to help him shoot it on 35mm MP film in 1983 but I had no money or camera contacts then. He can tell you which bridge he shot it from. Near Stadio Olimpico I thin.
ciao from very cold Chicago. BTW- sorry about Hunter.