I woke up and was out of my dwelling place before 7 AM for the first time since freshman year, when I sprinted out of a foreign dorm room and across campus so I could turn in some bullshit paper (shout out Steph). Turns out mornings are cold, but that could definitely just be an Italian thing. Anyway, I walked to a café across the canal without getting lost, my first unequivocal victory over directions since I got here. When I crossed the threshold I stepped into the most surreal scene my still awakening brain could have handled.
There were four people at a table that stopped talking immediately once I entered. One of them got up and greeted me in perfect English as he walked behind the counter. Relieved, I responded “Good morning.” He gave me a quizzical look and then started rapid firing Italian at me until I stumbled through the most American pronunciation of cappuccino and, defeated, pointed at a piece of cake (which I later remembered is torta….. I think). I then took a seat at one of the three tables in the place and watched as a slow but steady stream of people came into the café and never said anything but buongiorno, while making sure to show blatant bewilderment at the intruder’s presence. I don’t know if this is some super low-key code, but each one received at least three separate items from this mystical waiter without any apparent provocation. The entire time the song “1985”( yes that random one hit wonder from the early 2000’s that talks about some slut obsessed with mediocre rock music) played on a loop.
I’d love to give you insight on the coffee or pastry, but I was so confused that I barely remember consuming either. I left to the relief of all parties and headed back to the apartment, stopping by a bakery and ordering a chocolate croissant from a very nice lady just to make sure that my first experience of the day wasn’t the norm. Enjoying this croissant and tea (Lorenzo, the guy I’m renting from, is dope and left me all kinds of shit) on the balcony while I watch the rest of the city wake up is much more of what I pictured when I woke up. Weird fucking start to the day. I think I quit mornings.
Getting lost in a city is significantly less fun when it’s raining. On my ill-fated journey to see Il Duomo (I found it. It was big. There were a lot of tourists. It was also 5 euro to enter, which, like, that’s a negroni and I’ve been to church before) I ignored the warning signs of impending precipitation and decided to walk the mile and a half my phone informed me it would take to get there. Riding on the high of having a productive morning for the first time ever, I apparently thought dodging rain drops was in my repertoire. It was not.
While I was contracting hypothermia, I realized that central Milan is a goddam siren song. Every store I passed had some beautiful shit in the window that reached out to me and purred “Come in and blow your Paris budget in one go.” I resisted. For today. Instead, after I managed to find my way home despite multiple unintentional and increasingly frustrating detours, I decided to go grocery shopping. This was my best idea of the day for two reasons: I could save money and I could get food with the least amount of interaction possible. It was a resounding success on both counts as I was able to get prosciutto, fresh bread, cheese, and some Tuscan wine for a total of 7 euros. It was like if Trader Joe’s had a love child with a more interesting Whole Foods.
It’s still raining outside, but I see no reason to let that kill a Friday. I’m going to drink and possibly make bad decisions. I’m probably not going to document those, but we’ll see how interesting they are. Hope I don’t die this soon after arriving. The more likely scenario is that I just get really fucking lost and find the comfiest street corner to pass out on. I’ll probably document that. There has to be a market inefficiency for a Milanese sidewalk Yelp. I’m gonna be so rich.