Wrinkly Bits

A Blog by Gail Cushman

Miss Cindy’s Plan for a Great Adventure

As you know, Cowboy Bob and I traveled to Rome to see what we could see. I had been to Rome before, sometime between the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius and the invention of pizza, but Cowboy Bob had not, and we had a lot to see. We stayed in a quaint, but lovely, hotel, a three-minute walk to the Spanish Steps, where we watched the filming of the new “Fast and Furious” movie, number 7, a wedding, and a group of tall choir boys from Holland serenading the crowd. I managed to make it up the 135 Steps a few times and now am in the knee replacement queue for 76 year olds, but that’s what makes a memorable adventure.

The streets were narrow, but the taxi drivers were adept at dodging people who were eating gelato from one of the 15000 gelato stores, walkers, and we were fortunate not to get run down. The drivers were pretty good at swerving, too. Europeans have not heard of ADA, and all bathrooms were either up or down stairs, sometimes as much as three flights. Oh, my aching knees.

My loveliest of lovely travel professionals, Miss Cindy, placed us in the wonderful hotel, the Hotel Manfredi, which used to be a theater and we oohed and aahed as we discovered all its amenities. It was just what we wanted for a trip to Italy, a charming Italian hotel that oozed character at every step. Brocade walls, a raised panel ceiling with gold Frieze trim. (Cowboy Bob gave me that information, obviously he knows more than calving). But then, I went into the bathroom, which doubled as a closet. I took a quick look at le toilette, which, of course, I know how to use. It also had le bidet, not in my Idaho vocabulary, and would have been a great place to scrub my achy feet, but the water didn’t seem to be connected or maybe I didn’t understand how to use it.

And then the shower. Oh dear. It was a glass four-foot round cylinder with a seat that moved up and down. It didn’t have a seatbelt so I thought it might be an ejection seat. I didn’t see On/Off knobs, but it had a control panel on the wall with fourteen small pictures closely resembling ancient hieroglyphics. All I needed was On/Off and perhaps a temperature control, but not one of the fourteen hieroglyphics seemed to fulfill that need. I dug out my flashlight and spent some time trying to decipher the little figures, but couldn’t make heads nor tails of them, as most of them were just squiggles, light gray on a white background. I did understand two of the symbols, the music and light symbols, but no others and even though I poked them multiple times, no music and no lights. Finally, I found a set of On/Off buttons, hidden behind the ejection seat, and they worked, so all was well. I never figured out the hieroglyphics, but at least I got my shower.

The elevator was another part of Miss Cindy’s plan for me to have a great adventure. Our room was on floor two, which really was floor three, because the ground floor was designated as floor zero although you didn’t know that until you used the elevator and got to the wrong floor. The elevator was a cage elevator which held two or three people, depending on which sign you read, but only if you didn’t have suitcases. If two people plus a suitcase entered, red lights flashed and it began to groan, but Cowboy Bob assured me that all was well, even though it had a few minor issues like a frayed belt and a misaligned cinderblock weight system. It had a dual door system, not unlike prison doors: open one, close one in the right sequence. I was in good shape because I used to work at the prison.

All great adventures should have kinks in them, and this one had a few, but nothing that would deter the Cowboy or me from launching another trip to somewhere. We have a couple more adventures planned…and hope you will tag along with us.

If you enjoy Wrinkly Bits, please share. All of Gail’s blogs and books are available on her website Gailcushman.com

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