Posted by: 4initalia | January 8, 2009

Superiority Dance

L’ho fatto – I did it! I am hopeless at transportation and technology, but I have managed to take a bus to the mall, buy cell phones, and find the apartment again. This is a huge moral victory for an Amish person with no sense of direction.

I bought cell phones today! Cute little Nokias. I can tell from the store display that these phones can take photos, but I have no idea how to use them to call someone. How would I know? I’m Amish. (I’d be a Luddite, but the Amish have better hats).

I don’t understand technology when it’s explained to me in English, so I’m clearly not going to follow phone directions written in Italian. But it is helpful to have a teeny camera, especially in an emergency. For example, if our apartment were to burst into flames, (which would be a huge problem since we are on the seventh floor) I could take a photo of the raging inferno and show it to any firefighters alerted by the teeny camera flash.

So I am feeling invincible – I even got the apartment door open before I wet my pants; Italians must not drink a lot of fluids before leaving the house.

No wonder Romeo had to climb up a vine to reach Juliet – she would have no time to let him in through an Italian door before their parents killed each other or they started dating other people.

My Italian key ring looks like a prop from The DaVinci Code. While I was still in a jet-lagged stupor, our landlord Raimondo gave me seven keys, the use of which he explained in rapid Italian, which means not at all. Each key is shaped like it was made by a blacksmith with a personality disorder, and each door has several sets of keyholes, some of which date to the building’s post-war construction, and some to the Middle Ages.

There are seven keys and six hundred potential keyholes. There’s a key to open the door to the street, another for the cellar storage unit, one for the mailbox, and another to escape from the enclosed patio (there doesn’t seem to be a key to enter the patio, which makes me wonder whether I want to go there at all). Raimondo mentioned another key, to get onto the roof, but unless I decide to throw myself off, I’m going to let that go for now.

To open the apartment door, which is made of mediaevally thick oak, requires two keys, which have to be turned, in opposite directions, 400 times each. And inside the apartment there are more keys – spindly ones to lock each massive bureau drawer, one for each door of the amoires that substitute for closets, and one for the bathroom door.

The second day we were in the apartment, Annalise collected all the interior keys and hid them in her room, so we may have to keep all our clothes in the bathroom, or shower in the armoires.

But I have solved the Mystery of the Seven Keys – would you care to join me in a Superiority Dance?

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