Hey Wilson. After a pretty rough but interesting day, I stumbled on an incredibly atmospheric little jazz café tucked into the ancient stone streets of a tiny Italian town called Terracina and am finally able to do some writing.
I’m exhausted, actually, and wouldn’t even think of this except that in Rome I promised a chick I would write a poem for her before Wednesday. She is supposed to write a poem as well about her time in Rome, and I am afraid if I don’t write something, she won’t hold up her end of the bargain. Now I highly doubt I will ever hear from or see or otherwise communicate with this young lady, and if that’s the case, I’m fine with it. I’m having all kinds of experiences with all kinds of transient people who I’ll never hear from again. Lasting friendships are always nice to make, but I am not dead set on anything, nor am I attempting to woo a lover or any such thing. But I do hope she writes her poem, so I’m going to get something written down. As it turns out, though, I’m not going to write her a poem. I’m going to include her in this post to you. I was originally going to write this poem as promised, but as I thought about my experience in Rome and with her, it came to mind that all of this fit very nicely into a story related to one of the ideas that I mentioned in a prior essay. The idea was the place of meaning in our lives.
With that said, I just want to describe some aspects of my five days that I spent in Rome. Having completed the Iberian part of my bicycle tour, I took a ferry from Barcelona to the port of Cevitavechhia and then boarded a train to my hostel. The ferry was a comfortable and interesting experience, and I was pleasantly surprised to run into a couple of English-speaking Italians who helped me make it to my train without any confusion or frustration. That, however, would be one of the last pleasant experiences I would have in Rome, though certainly not the last interesting experience. I know it must look like I am a terrible cermudgeon, given that I write so many posts with so many complaints. But like Birmingham, I’ve been having a fascinating and in many ways pleasant time, it’s just that the deep and spiritually significant events, those things worth writing about, are usually accompanied by trial and misery. So like my wonderful trip to Brimingham, Alabama that was great except for the calamity that I described during my visit there, just know I’ve been having a magical time, but for whatever reason, Rome actually kind of sucked, and I am here to tell you about that.
To begin with, a storm that had been hanging over Valencia and Barcelona, normally cities of perpetual sun, seems to have followed me to Italy and intensified mightily. I do admit that my Italian travels have been in December, whereas Novembers in Spain are normally more mild, and also that Italy is apparently known for rainy winters. This I am confonting as I contemplate further bike rides in this country. In any event, my experience in Rome was marked by clouds, rain, and cold. The cold part is unusual for me, actually, as I’ve always been hot-blooded, and frequently do things that would make most people catch pneumonia. So I thought it odd to find myself shivering at all hours in the city of seven hills.
Part of it was also that my hostel was astoundingly cheap, but utterly uncomfortable. There were no lockers. I’m paranoid about theft, and have some stories to tell you about that sometime. There was poor ventilation. The rooms stank of men who needed showers. There were no mixed-gender dorms. So while I didn’t have to worry about the police being called on me, there was a definite locker room feel to everything. There were no places to charge devices. Only a small common area with two plugs for everybody. There was actually a spacious terrace up top, but no space there to sit and write or anything. Like, what’s a terrace without chairs or tables? It was just open space with clothes lines everywhere. To all this, add that I do not speak Italian. There were a shocking number of Portuguese, a few Italians who spoke no English, and a Palestinian Egyptian guy who did speak English, but I was a bit wary of. There was this French chick who claimed she understood me and spoke to me in what I think she thought was English, but I am definitely certain was not – merely randomly strewn together English words spoken in an outragously thick French accent that had no meaning whatsoever in any form of my native tongue that I’ve ever encountered. I got so tired of trying to decipher her speech and pretend like I understood her, Wilson!
One highlight of the stay was a Mexican guy named Jack. And this is where the coincidences start, Wilson. Look at the title of the post. This post is going to be about synchronicity and coincidence as well as annoyances. So Jack was an evangelical Christian. That’s rare in Mexico. He was native Mexican. Jack was not his birth name. He changed his name to Jack. He was from Zapopan. The same city where my mother and stepfather bought their apartment. Yeah, this Mexican Christian guy who changed his name to an English name was from the same suburb of Guadalajara where I had been living. And you know where he was going? He was going to Israel after his ten days in Rome. Quite a coincidence, right? Seeing as I also am heading that way?
This actually was my second coincidence involving Israel, so let me take a break from Rome and tell you about my penultimate day in Barcelona. After thinking I was the only person in my hostel there for three days, while sitting next to the front desk charging my phone, twenty Israelis come through the door, talking rauciously, arguing and laughing and all else. I asked them where they were going, and they said they are leaving in a few hours to go to Israel. I tell them that I am on the way there, and one of them tells me that he is a professor in Ramat Gan, and that he knows everybody there and will set me up with everything I need, so I should just go with them. I was shocked. I figured he was just being silly, as Israelis do tend to have this unusual sense of humor. I can’t even remember how I reacted or what I said, as I was honestly wanting to take the guy seriously and just go with them. But they were literally heading to the airport right then. So I just sat there not knowing how to take anything. Out the door they went. But yeah, this was quite a coincidence that the guy was a professor in Ramat Gan, as that is where Oryana lives, one of the only friends I have left in Israel.
Back to Rome. So now Jack the Christian guy tells me he is from the same place I had been living, and he was going to the same place I was going to. In ten days. On the heels of this Israeli thing in Barcelona, I wondered if I should just drop everything and go with him. However, I didn’t get his number and never saw him again after my one conversation with him.
After all this, though, I had quite strange interactions with an Iranian chick, Mehrak. She was a student of English and some kind of international business in Milan who had come down with a friend to see Rome. She said she was forty two years old, but she looked about 27. She was a bass player in a rock band. I used to play the bass guitar and have always wanted to pick it back up again. Over the course of our first conversation at the hostel, the subject of my having lived in Israel came up, and she asked me if I was a Jew. I said that I wasn’t, because technically I’m not, but this was obviously a reaction of fear and a desire not to displease her, as more and more I am just telling people that I am. That is, when people ask me about why I don’t eat pork or whatever (a thing very hard not to do in Rome), it’s just simpler to say I’m Jewish than to go through a complicated story about conversion. At any rate, I did make note of the fact that my hostel seemed to have a number of people counted as the traditional enemies of Israel – Palestinians, Iranians…and this caused me to think about Israeli politics and the humanity of Israel’s enemies. This was quite an interesting hostel with its Palestinians and Iranians on the one hand, and Evangelical Mexicans from Guadalajara on the other.
At any rate, the next day I had just finished a food tour through the Jewish ghetto and was walking back to my bicycle, and I tripped…on nothing. I looked back to where I almost fell, and there was absolutely nothing there to trip on. While still trying to figure out how the hell I could have tripped, I heard someone say “boo!”, and there was Mehrak. I wasn’t in any kind of a tourist spot or anything. Like, it was really quite a coincidence to run into her there. She was with her friend the Milanese chick. She told me that her friend was a professor of history. I asked her friend what history she was a professor of, and she corrected me and told me she was a professor of philosophy. So Mehrak didn’t know what her friend was a professor of. I mean my wife never had much of a clue what I did in the Army. The only thing that mattered to her was that I was an officer. $$$ Yeah. So I guess it’s plausible to have a friend who is a professor and have no idea what they are a professor of, but that struck me as weird. And it was also weird that she bumped into me in a random alley where I had stowed my bicycle. Just as I tripped over nothing. As if she were some sorceress who cast a spell to make me trip and notice her, and when I failed to, she said, “boo!”
Standing there with my bike, I asked her friend what kind of philosophy she was into, and she said, epistemology. Now Wilson, I am not sure how much you have caught on to about all these things I am saying to you about Satan, but the whole of the issue is that Satan thinks reality is our dream, while the Captain of the Angels thinks reality is a story written by God. This goes all the way back to the fourth chapter of my book, titled “The Bottle of Beer.” I’m sure you remember it, Wilson. You read all my stuff. At any rate, from all this you can see that I’ve concentrated a lot on epistemology, having left behind most questions that students of epistemology never get to. I told her as much, that I knew the subject well and had kind of left it behind. She then said her other area was anyalytics, to which I responded that I had had my day with that subject as well, and it was no longer a focus of mine. So she reponded that I must be into ethics. I was about to respond that I never had interest in the philosophical approach to that subject, but she assumed that my answer was going to be “yes” and broke into a fast-paced rant about how there was no objective morality. My reaction to all this prattle was to turn to Mehrak and respond with entirely too much depth. It made things awkard. I told her that according to Aristotle, one should start by defining terminology, at which point her friend interrupted to try to correct me and say this was from Plato. Maybe Plato did this as well, but Aristotle is generally regarded as the father of logic, and he did tend to start his treatises by defining his terms, a point that I had to relay to her friend. I felt like her friend was trying to one-up me or something. I wouldn’t let myself be deterred, though, and defined morality, and talked about the contextualization of morality, at which point Mehrak just said, “okay, it’s enough.” Like, the whole thing seemed like some kind of battle of wills between me and Mehrak’s friend, something that I had no interest in, but that I had to engage in in order to get any point across, and when I expressed any point, I just seemed like some kind of nerd seeking to intellectually intimidate Mehrak. I had no desire to do such, but the whole conversation was painfully annoying.
Anyway, that conversation wasn’t what soured the Mehrak thing with me, but rather it was the fact that I texted her and she didn’t answer. The text was some music I sent her while we were having our conversation about the bass guitar. I sent her a YouTube video of the Bangles covering Simon and Garfunkel’s “Hazy Shade of Winter.” Frankly, Mehrak looked almost identical to Susanna Hoffs, the lead singer of the Bangles. After reading my previous posts, Wilson, you know very few things trigger me at this point like chicks who don’t respond to texts. This is left over from the Electrochemical Girl, I think. But yeah, after Fire Girl, X-23, Suzanne, Liat, etc. You remember when I wrote you all that. Nothing bugs me like unanswered texts at this point. So that’s another coincidence. Mehrak was the eighteen millionth chick I ran into who can’t answer a text. Despite that, though, I actually invited her and her friend out later in the evening. While sending a text inviting them out, I remembered that her friend mentioned that she was vegetarian, and sent her the Smith’s song “Meat is Murder.” I’m not sure how they would have answered, as after not hearing anything for a while I decided to just go to bed early. I never heard from or saw Mehrak or her friend again. Annoying chicks formed the first part of my negative Rome experience.
Another annoying thing about Rome is that a tea costs €9. Everything other than my absolutely pathetic hostel was outrageously expensive in that city. Much more expensive than anywhere in Spain. I had a sneaking suspicion that if I tried to party in the city, whatever I had in my wallet would have been gone by the end of the evening.
So we are talking coincidences and annoyances. It was actually quite a coincidence how annoying everything was in Rome. On my food tour I had the worst pasta and pizza I had ever had. You’d think a food tour in Rome would include some good Italian food. Maybe it was me. I’d never been to Italy. I only know Italian food from other places. The best fettuccini carbonara I have ever had in my life was in a restaurant south of Netanya, made with beef sausage. Anyway, when it comes to evaluating Italian food, I only have one thing to go on: does it taste good, or not? Romans don’t know that pasta actually needs to be cooked a little bit in order to taste good, apparently. They also like crunchy pizza, which I don’t necessarily hate, but boy I am looking forward to getting to Naples tomorrow to see if they actually know how to do neapolitan pizza in Naples. Oryana’s husband Gidi, yes an Israeli, is actually a chef of Italian food. I’ll have to let him know if the pizza in Naples is better than in Rome.
Coincidences and annoyances.
So the next lovely thing about Rome was the tour of the Coliseum that didn’t happen. It was really the last straw for me. I booked the tour on Expedia, and the morning of the tour I pulled out my phone and clicked “get directions” to have Google Maps take me to the tour. But Google Maps took me to some location about 15 minutes away from the tour. I called them to find out what the hell was going on, and they talked down to me like I should have read through all the instructions to figure all the stuff out with a paper map and a slide rule like it was 1850 or something, when they were too stupid to give Expedia an accurate location for the start point of the tour. So I told them, “fuck the Coliseum” and basically walked over to the thing and took a few pictures of the outside, accepting that my $70 (for something that should have cost $20) was just gone. That was the point at which I was starting to see a message from God in all the crappiness that was Rome.
See, Rome contains the most famous ghetto in all of Europe until the Nazis came along. Remember my story about how I made the decision to convert to Judaism and got harassed by Satanic German flight attendants on the way from Belgrade to Arizona? This is a similar story about how Jonathan the Jew has an impression of Rome like being trapped in a freaking ghetto. And let’s not leave the Christians out of this city’s dark history, not failing to forget that Jesus, the apostles, and the first followers of that religion were Jews. This is the place where the Apostle Paul was killed. I’m a bit skeptical of it, but Christian sacral history claims the Apostle Peter was in Rome when they tortured his wife to death in front of him and then crucified him there upside down. I think a part of my miserable time in Rome was a kind of a confirmation from God of my Jewish journey. The New Testament calls Rome the New Babylon, but the Christians somehow figured that it would be a good place to make their papal headquarters or something. I’ll never figure that one out.
Now when I wrote my story about being harassed by Germans after deciding to convert to Judaism, I cautioned the reader not to hate Germans if they chose to empathize with my plight. This was just a unique occurrence that happened to me, a kind of event with a theme, which told me that I was walking the path of a Jew now, and as the Jews were oppressed by the Nazis, so did I go through my little event of oppression by Germans. But that this little thematic event happened to me doesn’t mean that Germans are evil for everybody at all times. I was just sent through a little story by God. Joel and Simone (my German friends for decades now), I love you guys. And on these recent travels I have met nothing but the most wonderful and charming Germans. Even back in Los Angeles the two German girls I met at the hostel there melted my heart. The cool German couple walking across Spain that I met in Albacete were totally awesome. Saskia the German chick from Freiburg I was hanging out with in Valencia was one of the most magnificent women I have talked to in years. I’ll never forget her physical and personal beauty. And there was that cool German chick who slept across from me at the hostel in Barcelona. And I can’t forget Michael the tattoo guy whose favorite number was 27 that I hung out with in Valencia. Everywhere I go I meet cool Germans. Even here in Terracina the chick at the front desk was this gorgeous blonde German chick who’d lived most of her life in Italy. Everywhere I go, I meet cool Germans. I’m even staying with a couple of Germans at this utterly picturesque bed and breakfast on the outskirts of Terracina. There are cool Germans everywhere. After not having anything to do with the German language for two decades now, I’ve been having dreams in German recently.
Coincidences and annoyances will be the subject of this post, Wilson, are you getting that? The beauty of Germany has been following me everywhere. I actually think the idea of Germany is functioning in my current story as a kind of temptation away from Israel. So don’t think by my story about the evil German flight from Frankfurt that I hate Germans. That was just the motif of that story. Likewise, please don’t hate Rome or Italians on my account. But the only way I can possibly describe my week in Rome accurately is to call it a week of a Jew stuck in a ghetto.
So after that tour to the coliseum that didn’t happen, I vowed to just get the hell out of Rome. I would do no further tours. I would take no further pictures. I would just get the freak out of the city, having confirmed yet again that I am a Jew who has nothing to do with popes and ecclesiastical rotundas or pagan sacrifices to insane emperors.
There was just one thing. It was Shabbat. I don’t travel on Shabbat, so I would have to stay one more day. I needed to schedule another day at a hostel, though, as I had reached the end of my stay at the one I was staying at, and I had absolutely no desire to spend another day in that rat hole. So I forked over some more dough to stay at a “better” hostel. It cost me €40 per night, which was what I was paying for full hotel rooms to myself in Spain. It was the Yellow Hostel. This name is not insignificant, Wilson.
Coincidences and annoyances is our theme.
So this hostel was aimed at the tourist crowd, which is another complaint I have about Rome: tourist trap. All the workers there spoke perfect English, and everyone staying there was an American or Canadian college chick. They gave me a room for four that had nobody else in it. It had a locker. And air conditioning. Just what I needed. Some warmth and space. Across the street from the Yellow Hostel was the sports bar that they owned: The Yellow Bar. I had vowed not to spend another dime in Rome. I was just going to sit at that bar and do writing. Now being cold all the time in Rome, I went over to the Yellow Bar with the only jacket I own: my yellow, highly reflective bicycle jacket. Then right next to me Dolores the surfer chick sat down. She was an American who had been living in Argentina for years who had come to Italy to get Italian citizenship. She asked me where I was going, and I responded Bari or Brindisi, I can’t remember which, and she said she was headed there too! What a coincidence, right, Wilson? She recommended to me that Sicily was warmer than Rome. This got me thinking about going down to Sicily, something that may just happen after Naples. Coincidences, Wilson. Coincidences. I’m an American who had been living in Mexico and had been learning Spanish, and I am talking to Dolores the American who had been living in Argentina for years. The thing is, in Spanish, “Dolores” means “pains.” So am trying to figure out if going to Sicily will just be an episode of pain. After Rome, I don’t know how much more pain I want. I’m still deciding. That storm I mention above seems to be hitting Sicily too…
I grabbed Dolores’ WhatsApp in order to maybe ask more about Sicily, but she basically went off to do her thing after determining that I had no interest in surfing. Honestly, I’d kinda been getting the impression that as far as women are concerned, I could get along with them as long as I was willing to drop everything I have going on and follow them to wherever they are going to do whatever they are doing. But I had made a statement to myself that any women in my life were going to have to hop onto what I am doing. I am not going to hop onto what they are doing.
So after Dolores left I called my daughter and did my best to join in on a Torah study session that a karaite friend of mine was holding online. It was Shabbat, remember. I still do electronics on Shabbat. And it was while I was doing that Torah study that the Dutch girl showed up.
And this is where the coincidences go off the chain, Wilson. I mean off the freaking chain.
Let’s start with some physical things. So this chick was beautiful. Do you know why? Well, I am a fifty year old man, and she was a twenty-something college chick. That’s for starters. They’re all kinda beautiful, to be honest. But her hair, Wilson. It was that exact same mixture of spun honey and gold that the Electrochemical Girl has for hair. She has the exact same hair as Noah van Ouwerkerk. That alone is enough for her to just own me forever. Let’s go to her eyes. She has the exact same eyes, that super pale green, just as the Electrochemical Girl has. Now there were differences. She is not super tall. Her face was more angular, whereas Noah’s is more rounded. But it was just the case that there I was talking to a young Dutch girl with the same hair and eyes as Noah. So we exchange basic information, and I find out that she is finishing a Bachelor’s in Psychology. She asks me about myself, and I tell her about my book, and that I wrote it to get the attention of a Dutch girl that I was not on speaking terms with because her father hates me. She commented, “he was protecting his daughter.”
My response was, “I know.”
She asked me about making peace with them, and I responded that I had done everything I could. They won’t talk to me. I took every imaginable effort humanly possible to try to make contact with those people, and every one had been rejected. Such that any further effort would surely be seen by anyone as harassment. She did not know about my suspicions that Noah’s dad was keeping me out of Israel. But I did make clear that since they won’t talk to me, I can only go on with my life. Hatred is a negative, Wilson. That is, hatred is only a lack of love. Excommunication, silence, and refusal to interact with someone is hate, just as is slapping them across the face. No peace can be made when there is no communication. When it comes to cold hate, the van Ouwerkerks are zero degrees Kelvin. They wouldn’t even talk to me about getting their names removed from my book. No peace is possible. She asked me if I had moved on and was done with them. I told her that I wrote a book about them. People would be asking me about them for the rest of my life. I’ll never be done with them. But they will have nothing to do with me, so I can only continue to live my life.
There I was, a man in a yellow jacket in a yellow bar talking with a Dutch girl about a Dutch girl. She continued asking about my book, and I told her about my brushes with schizophrenia that it catalogues.
We talked Jungian psychology, which she hadn’t looked much into, and I briefly talked about synchronicity and its relationship to schizophrenia. She told me her dad had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, and that her opinion was that schizophrenia was not insanity. This was a bit of synchronicity of its own, as I don’t call what happened to me insanity. We talked poetry, as I’d mentioned that the Electrochemical Girl’s dad got my poetry collection taken down from Amazon, and I had to go through Lulu.com to get it put back in print. She said that she also wrote poetry. It was then that we made a commitment to write some poetry for each other. We’d each write about our time in Rome.
And it was at this point that her friend came to collect her for her night in the city. Her friend was Asian. So the honey-haired Dutch girl went off with her Asian friend. The copy of Noah went off with the copy of Chloe. The copy of the Electrochemical Girl went off with the copy of X-23.
Coincidences, Wilson. Coincidences. And this wouldn’t be the last strange experience of the evening. So I was hungry. I go up to the bar talking to my daughter on my tablet, making the statement that at fifty years old, I can be as dorky as I want and talk to my daughter on my tablet while waiting for a beer and some food. A chick who was also waiting in line commented that old guys who still party are pretty “lit.” That means “cool,” Wilson.
So I head over to her table with my burger and fries and meet her and her boyfriend Jordan and his best friend, whose name I don’t remember. As it turns out, they are cyclists! They cycled from Greece to Rome. Actually, Wilson, every cyclist I met on this trip has been going from east to west. The French cyclist I met in Seville was heading to Portugal. Pierre the French cyclist I met in Valencia was heading west as well. Victor the Brazilian cyclist in Valencia was heading west. Now this trio was heading west. I am apparently the only cyclist heading east, Wilson! Like the phenomenon with Mehrak and her friend and with Dolores, I’m sure I could have buddied up with all kinds of cyclists if only I were willing to turn around around go in the opposite direction from where I am going. Only the Mexican Christian and the Ramat Gan Israelis were going my way.
But this group of cyclists had something super interesting to offer. The chick’s boyfriend, Jordan, tells me they were thinking of having a threesome later. He starts patting his buddy on the back, like he’s his gay lover or something. Now Wilson, this doesn’t shock me. I’m not a judgmental guy, and I had my own wild days when I was younger, mostly in 1995 and 1996. But also after my divorce a bit. Yet for the most part, I’m pretty tame. During my many years of celibacy as an Anglican monk, I developed a porn habit that I’ve wrestled with, that I approach like an alcoholic with alcohol. It’s kicked for the time being, but creeps up during periods of spiritual weakness and solitude, depression and things like that. Usually it goes toward the weirder, with gangbangs and sluts and all that, and I get myself out of it when it goes off the rails. Yet here I am with two dudes and a chick telling me how they are going to have a threesome. Like inviting me along? The whole thing reminds me of that line in the movie Ex Machina, where the protagonist tells the guy who designed the temptress robot, “did you build her in accordance with my porn profile?”
And even this is a spooky coincidence, because Jordan, with his dark skin and fluffy black beard looked just like Oscar Isaac portraying the roboticist in that movie. Too many coincidences. Yet I was not in a period of loneliness or weakness, so I just looked at them, not offended as many would be, but not even slightly tempted, either.
The trio disappeared for a while to leave me eating my hamburger alone. A few minutes later Jordan’s friend came back and told me that the chick was giving blow jobs in the bathroom. I just looked at him unphased. Was I supposed to go stand in line? I asked the dude what he was up to, and he told me he wasn’t into the whole blowjob thing, so the two of us went out to a club. I got quite drunk at the club. Jordan showed up there later, and I greeted him jovially. Again, I wasn’t disturbed in any way by his unusual sex life, nor attracted to it. I just just having a good time. But then he tells me that I made his girlfriend uncomfortable earlier at the hostel.
This really blew me away. He started to tell me what I had done to make her uncomfortable, but I cut him off. There was absolutely no indication at the Yellow Bar that I had made anyone uncomfortable. I was pissed off. These guys tell me they are having threesomes. They tell me that they are doing blowbangs in the restroom of the bar. None of that offended me or tempted me. But some chick trying to control me with her discontent, that I just could not abide. I’m a pretty weird guy, right? Wild sex doesn’t offend or excite me, but psychological games from women, that just sets me off. I don’t do the New Matriarchy, Wilson.
So not long after, as I was walking around the club by myself rather drunkenly, Jordan’s buddy comes to get me and we go back to the hostel in an Über. I head to the room and fall asleep. The next morning I wake up, and my wallet has absolutely no cash in it. I must have spent a hundred euros with absolutely no idea what I had spent it on. And the key to my bicycle lock was gone from my wallet. So I ended up throwing the lock away and getting a new one in Terracina. Rome. €9 for a cup of tea. €70 coliseum tours that don’t happen. €100 spent somehow at a club. Got a new €80 bicycle lock to satisfy my paranoia about theft. And I checked my balance the next day and the Über to the hostel cost €50. What a week getting of getting my funds whittled away by the forces of darkness, Wilson!
And there are all the freaking coincidences.
- The Mexican Christian from Guadalajara heading to Israel talking to the American ex-Christian from Guadalajara heading to Israel.
- The Israelis from Ramat Gan offering me to go with them.
- The millions of supercool Germans everywhere tempting me to just give up heading east to Israel and just head north to Germany.
- The chick my age who looks decades younger who plays the instrument I love, used to play, and want to get back into some day.
- The 9,984,358 women who won’t answer texts.
- The guy in the yellow jacket hanging around at the Yellow Bar.
- The old man Spanish-speaking American heading to Bari having a conversation with the young woman Spanish-speaking American headed to Bari.
- The honey-haired Dutch girl talking with me about the honey-haired Dutch girl.
- The old man with schizophrenia in his past talking with the Dutch girl about her past with her schizophrenic old man.
- The Dutch girl with the Asian friend talking with the man who loves a young Dutch girl and an Asian girl.
- Jonathan going in the opposite direction of every other cyclist in Europe.
- The cyclist with a porn past of gangbangs talking with the cyclists offering gangbangs.
- The guy walking the path of a Jew spending a week in Rome that felt like a Jew stuck in a Roman ghetto.
Wilson, events like this aren’t just coincidences. They can mean one of two things. Either Jonathan Bailey is living in some kind of a dream where his living reality is reflecting his own subconscious, or the Almighty God has arranged Jonathan Bailey’s life to be a story full of messages sent in ways that are just too improbable to be chance.
I go with the second option, Wilson. This incredible violation of the laws of probability is God peeking out from behind the curtain saying, “here I am. I am sending you messages. I am confronting you with temptations. I am shaping you with experiences. I am testing you. I am teaching you. This is your life. I wrote it for you. I wrote you. You and everyone around you are my story. Please read it and understand.”
The week in Rome is the most intense of the stories that have happened to me on this trip, Wilson, but it is not the only one. The pub crawl in Valencia was so weird I almost can’t describe it. I’m not even going to bother. I’ll just let you know that I am not going out after dark anymore. I’m going to make a decision about how much lone traveling I can really handle at this point. Sicily might be too much. On the other hand, some time in the countryside away from cities might do me well. It might give me some time to think and center myself. There is a reason the desert prophets lived in caves and wandered the desert. Plus, the final leg of the trip has the potential to be otherworldly, if it can even happen at all. Not sure. I’ll decide what I do next down in Naples.
As for the Dutch girl and the challenge to write poems, well, I have only written this. She has my website with my contact information. If she sends me a poem, I’ll write her one. But if not, well, this is what I wrote about my week in Rome. Strange coincidences.