Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Secret Seafood and Side-by-side Scaffolding

I ate lunch with Josh and Maurizio yesterday. It was delicious. Maurizio can be temperamental sometimes and yesterday he was...about parking. So we ended up going to a new place - one we had never heard of. It is tucked into the old soccer stadium by the tennis club - a little hole-in-the-wall seafood place. There is no sign, no indication except for a rickety exhaust tube from the kitchen that rises over the wall.

Delicious. Spaghetti with tomatoes and clams followed by a shared fried fish plate accompanied by a delicious local white wine. Maurizio is an enigma to me. I can't figure him out. I baptized him last year and since then his life has been awful. Well, according to him. It hasn't been NEARLY the life-saving event he thought it would be. You know the country song - no girl, no house, no dog...

There are two buildings just down the road from our house next to each other and both of them are being redone - repainted. This is a major process that costs the owners of the apartments thousands of euros and hours of heartache. It happens every 20 years or so and the city is full of buildings that are surrounded in scaffolding as mostly foreign workers are busy stripping, rebuilding and painting. The scaffolding goes up, the transformation takes 2-3 months (or MUCH longer) and then the scaffolding comes down and the building is restored to its pristine, original condition. One of the two afore-mentioned buildings is covered in scaffolding. The one next to it instead has hired a new service for the job. It is two guys with a huge platform truck with a crane that allows them to reach great distances. No scaffolding. They peel the paint, fire the walls and go to town while everyone watches and while piles of crusty, cracking paint form around the base of the building. Bare, naked, patchy walls are visible to everyone.

Two buildings side by side. One covered in green canvas which hides the work, the other exposed, cold, shivering. In the end, the result is the same...I think. Maurizio is the scaffolding-less building. As I listened to him talk and waver between lamenting and laughing I just smiled and enjoyed the moment. He's a good friend. Maybe my best Italian friend and he's just like George Costanza. I'll keep praying for him, keep exploring new restaurants with him, keep sitting with him as the old stuff gets scraped away and the new stuff gets put on.

I'm pretty sure I still have some scaffolding of my own up in some places...

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