Sunday, 12 August 2012

Miss Lame in Italy

One year...

Sitting in the cobble streets of Firenze, Italy at a cafe. People flow by, a few at a time, some chat softly at the neighbouring tables, enjoying their breakfast "cakes" (typical Italian breaky- sweet pastries)- The right amount of commotion for Miss Lame's writing-focus. Background bustle with opportunities for momentary engagment with others- smiles.

A solo day of adventure for Miss Lame.  Needing a moment to breath in this new place. To write, eat and be me. Enjoy my own company.

I retreive the black, hardcover sketch book my sister gave me as a gift over a year ago from my purse. I scan through sketches and Miss Lame chicken scratch from over a year ago- The last time the notebook was opened.

I just so happened to notice this book as I packed for my trip and thought "oh, that would be a great writing canvas for my Miss Lame adventures in Italy!"

Curious, I take a moment to read my last written entry:

"Monday August 8, 2011- New adventure- Blog?"

I am about to leave Canada- in my favourite place in the whole world with my favourite people:
Northern Ontario, Canada- Jumping Caribou Lake- the family cottage- with my family.

In the passage, I brainstorm and hypothesize the pending unknown...

Becoming Miss Lame.

I decipher my message and I am moved as I compare, contrast and connect my current world and mindset with my person and mental place at that time.

What I didn't know. The unwavering confidence of my spirit.

I express a mind-numbing mosaic of feelings- excitment, pride, apprehension... Saddness?... These basic, contrasted feelings zip in and out of my brain, undirected, flighting and ultimately, uncomprehensible.

Miss Lame is usually very good at feeling emotions strongly. Clear, punctuated emotions is comfort to Miss Lame- They tell me what is wrong. They give me answers and insight. I feel in control.

Despite this brain flurry. There is a tone of certainty in my words- complete assurdness in my decision to step into the unknown, on my own.

No question- I was going to London England. I was going to teach. I was going to love it.

I was right.

Hypothesizing my new blog- "Becoming Miss Lame" in it's inception.

"Things I see and learn will bombard me as I venture to a new country and a new culture. This will increase the frequency and opportunity for "super-dork" moments, but it will also provide opportunities for deeper reflection and personal growth... I'm not JUST dorky..."

As I read this passage I am intrigued. I reflect- Miss Lame "super-dork" moments and their frequency...

Looking back on this year in the UK, it seems that this prediction was inaccurate. In a new place, with new people who don't fully "get" Miss Lame (there tends to be an initial distrust in Miss Lame's incredibly upbeat address here in London, England), super-dork situations became less punctuated. Perhaps it isn't the frequency of the lame occassions that changed but that they flew past, unnoticed.

The realisation: The beauty or fun in these super-dork moments is the shared laugh with friends who partake in the lame moment or catch them and call you on it.

Perhaps Miss Lame just doesn't notice how dorky she is anymore. It comes natural. I'm just being me.

Goodbye Grandpa Boobie.

I carry on reading my entry...

"Yesterday, my siblings, parents and I went to the hospital in North Bay to visit Grandpa Bob. He has been on oxygen for a while but recently has also been afflicted with a lung infection among other issues..."

A lump forms in my throat. Staring at the page, I grasp at my cappaccino, using my peripherals to coordinate. I take a big gulp, in an effort to pull the lump back down.

I read on: "It was so good to see him and hear his humour. He looks frail and weak... I feel a strange calm about seeing him... I dont know why..."

I read this and long overdue tears develop. Amidst the bustle of Firenze, Italy, I feel alone with myself. In a good way.  I can let go. Something I was unable to do months ago, last fall, as I piered at my parents through the computer screen one afternoon- the news of Grandpa's death rebounds off of me. I couldn't process it.

In Canada, this 18th of August, my family will be gathering in North Bay, Ontario to celebrate my late Grandfather's life. I will be missing this opportunity.

An upcoming adventure: In honour of my dear Grandpa Bob, I will be biking to Brighton on the South coast on Monday August 13th (tomorrow), surfing on a couch for the night and returning the following day. I plan to write, sit by the sea and talk to Grandpa.

I retreive the red pen in my purse. I write. I eat. I breath. I enjoy my own company in Firenze, Italy.


In Italy, my friend Bea and I step into a new world of flavours, social engagment and asthetic.

The speedo.
 "Why?" I question, entertained, perplexed and sometimes disturbed, as my eyes scan the beautiful coastal swimming encleave (Manarola, Cinque Terre), dotted, rather, interrupted by, scantally clad men. All shapes and sizes, young and old, in tight, package hugging, obnoxious in colour, speedo suits- Nothing left to the imagination. Too often, tummies portrude over the waistband of these spandy briefs, giving the illusion of nudity. Unfortunately.

WHY?- Miss Lame hypotheses:
I dig and grasps for some sort of reasoning behind this trend of over-exposure and decide on the following logic...
  • Maximizing tanned surface area of the body... Achieving that even, golden brown tan- No lines and inconsistencies on their bodily canvas. 
Miss Lame wonders- "what is the point?!"- as she notices the toll of this asthetic ambition- men and women approaching middle-age, red-brown in hue, rather than golden.  Their tired skin, crying for moisture.

The most prevailent form of Body Dysmorphic disorder in Italy?
  • Ease of movement... I imagine it's a freeing sensation. Much like skinny-dipping.
Not that we would wish to see majority of these men sprinting, prancing or attempting any particularly dynamic movement in this garb.  

The albedo effect.
Never before have I seen so much white, baige, cotton and linen.  A lot of white pants- or, rather, "trousers".

"They have it right", Miss Lame decides.  This observation launches my brain into a Science-dork rant...

Workin' with those photons (light particles).

Why  do we see green leaves, racy red cars, scalding hot black asphalt, and light, flowy white pants/trousers on Italian men? The physics of light and how we see colours.
  • White light from the sun or a common lightbulb is the combination of all the colours of the rainbow (visible light spectrum).  When white light strikes a prism or water droplet it is split up to show all colour components!
  • When white light reaches a surface (e.g. green leaves on a tree, a racy red car, black ashphalt, an Italian man's white pants/trousers) the colour that we see is the particular colour or combination of colours that are reflected off the object and into our eyes- the rest of the colours are absorbed into the material/surface.
The racy red car:
  • The colour red reflects off of the car and into our eyes- we see red. All other colours of the rainbow are absorbed into the surface.
Burning your toes on that HOT, black asphalt:
  • None of the colours of the visible light spectrum reflect off the surface- all are absorbed- As a result the surface becomes HOT (creates heat energy)
In the case of an Italian man's white pants/trousers:

  • All colours of the visible light spectrum (light particles) are reflected off of the white surface and into our eyes- meaning we see white- None of the colour spectrum gets absorbed into the material. This keeps things cooooolll! 
 Living in a Mediterranean climate such as Italy, wearing white and baige = good idea. 
What would be even better?

If Italians decided to wear tin foil- "Robot fad" is a good idea, I think..


Beautiful squares. Grandiose structures surround the open air with a strong, elegant presence.

As I walk through the space I feel the history. I imagine old farmers markets, rallies, movements. Sometimes lively and thriving with many individual contributions. Sometimes one voice or a pause- silence. A community come together or tearing apart.

I don't know the stories. But I imagine them.

Piazza Maggiore- Bologna (a film festival at night)

My favourite piazza experience:

A quaint, quirky, alternative little piazza.

Seated on crates. Crate tables craddle our wine glasses when we are not sipping away at them. A DJ plays retro infused dance music off to the side.  Offerings of free legitimate Shiatsu massages in order to bolster business.

Yes please.  


Savouring, smiling.  Heaven.

"I can't believe this..." I think as the mouthful of handmade, squid ink pasta, with fresh scampi overtake my mouth. Melting with pleasure.
After a moment to myself of complete an utter pleasure, I fixate my eyes on the view before me. Sea-side, Manarola, Cinque Terre, the sun sets and creates siluettes of the few land parked boats and individuals admiring in between.

Italy- A foodie's dream come true. Handmade pasta. Fresh seafood. Smooth, gorgeous gelato... The CHEESE.

Simple. Quality. Beautiful.

Customer service/common decency
Shops and service industry.

I walk up, eager, with my broad Miss Lame smile and open my mouth to speak.

A sharp, pointed finger.

A wall is created.

"ok." I step back and suppress my excitement for the moment.

Stone face, the tourism services women's eyes do not break from her computer screen.  After what felt like ages (likely 1 minute, but hyperactive, excited Miss Lame has a hard time with these things), the woman's eyes detach from the computer screen and meet mine- Lack luster.


She allows me to speak.
Of course my inquiry was not properly prepared. Not specific enough.  I was quickly turned away to seek the brochures consuming the wall behind me.

Don't get me wrong, not all individuals in service industry behaved this way in Italy, but it did seem to be a trend- A general vibe of complete and utter distain for the individual requiring their time.

Major exception was the lovely waitor whom on my last evening in Italy, recommended a great place to dance in Bologna.  A new friend from the hostel, also an educator of children, and I set out in search of this dance floor, determined to get our groove on.

We danced the night away with locals until the sun came up.  A perfect way to wrap up my time in Italy.

Dance. My favourite.

Miss Lame looks forward to her continued summer time adventures.  
The is so much to look forward to.

NOTE: Any words that are bolded, italicized, underlined and in red are suggested/preferred words by Mom. She doesn’t like me saying words like fuck, shit, ass (etc) on the internet… I feel these words better illustrate my feelings as times, so just imagine them in there if you will.


  1. Been a while since visiting. Nice writing Miss Lame. I love the alternative piazza photo too...the glow and the warmth.

  2. Hi Gary,

    Thank you for your comment and visiting my blog again! :)

    I am happy to hear you've enjoyed catching up. A reflection on the beginning of the new school year is soon to come.

    Hope all is well with you.

    Miss Lame