Last week, I had the decompression conversation with Arlene.  You now, that “sigh, I’m so happy to back in Rome after x days in Los Angeles.”  For us, the conversation involves several minutes or hours hyberbolizing the ups and downs of living in LA and Rome, which is better and rah rah Rome.  The end of the chat usually concludes with one of us saying something to the effect of:

The minute I set in foot Europe, I just feel better. 

Usually, that phrase is uttered by Arlene.  She can land in any European airport and know she’s back home, whereas for me, it is Fiumicino only. The minute I walk through FCO’s halls, I know I am home.   

It must be stated that I loved living in Los Angeles.  I like the eternal summers and adolescence, stilettos-with-jeans, super-stylized bars, amazing hairdressers, fish tacos and Arcana Books.  I just didn’t really “get” the personalities, particularly male.  Maybe because I am from Philadelphia or maybe it’s the water, but LA-residing men have a chip on their shoulders that imitates Asperger’s syndrome.  Flirtation is uncontrollable, pent up aggression and emotion is as rich as air kisses.

When in LA, I whole-heartedly leap into the Brett Easton Ellis void, that lack of emotion that gets quickly blurred out with first rays of sunshine.   But the second, I walk, no strut,  down the reinforced glass hallway at FCO, on my return, I remember exactly why I love living here.

The machine-gun wielding carabinieri.  At 8 am, after a long haul flight, these men are my favorite welcome home party.  Airplane bed head and wrinkled clothes (technically Italian faux-pas), and still the carabinieri will check you out with enthusiasm that only Italian men can do.  I am not suggesting dating carabinieri, or any police person from any state or country, but simply acknowledging that Italian men have the remarkable ability to appreciate any woman at any time.  Another example are the guys in baggage, though overworked, underpaid and eternally grouchy, they can make you blush when they find your lost bag.

Enthusiam.  It’s all about enthusiasm here.