Last Wednesday night, two friends and I went out to a french chanson concert in a distant bar, taking a combination of bus and metro to reach what turned out to be dim humid locale without available seating. Nonetheless we enjoyed the complimentary drinks included in the cover fee, enjoyed some live music. Upon exiting the venue, we just missed our bus home. Drat! Poor Balbina had just had a cast taken off her ankle earlier that afternoon, after several long weeks of surgery recovery, but limped along like a real trooper. We talked of the awkward beauty of adolescent female bodies - lithe, sensuous, misunderstood - and about our dream vacations.
A strange young Italian guy happened upon our midnight ramble when we neared a hot taxi spot at Porta Susa train station, and hovered near us as we walked past a busy pub. We three girls, all mascara and sandals, moved instinctively closer to one another against this uninvited escort, unsure of whether to increase or decrease our speed. I didn't even realise he'd snatched her purse until he was halfway down the block and turning the corner, and I suddenly understood the word "crestfallen" when I knew neither of us could catch him. Muscular blurs raced past on both sides; some men from the bar had seen the whole thing and chased the youth for blocks. They returned, panting and triunphant, gold and white clutch in hand! Cell phone, check. Apartment keys, check. Ten euros, check. Chapstick, check. They'd found him crouched in a dumpster, they said, and Balbina's nostrils flared indignantly when she they reported that no, no one had punched him. If I didn't have this bum ankle, I woulda chased him down and kicked his ass! Carabinieri, or civil police officers, arrived around 1,30am, and took her info. The druggie youth was soon caught by another pair of police officers when he tried to snatch another woman's purse just a couple of blocks away, and huddled dazedly some yards away from us in the cop car as the first two officers took witness reports in the most ridiculous, roundabout (read: typically Italian) manner. "Can you describe what he looked like? What he was wearing," the young cop asked while the old cop ogled me and Lindsay lecherously. "He's right over there!," I wanted to yell, wanted to use both hands to indicate the culprit in the dark car. "WTF are we still doing here??" Minutes passed as they questioned the "witnesses" one by one. The muscular witnesses bought the pretty witnesses a round of beers. The pretty ones bought everyone a plate of french fries. We didn't get home until almost 4 in the morning. Hence the aforementioned sleepless night.
On a completely different note, someone recently turned me onto an interview with author and educator Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot in which she addresses the search for meaning and fulfillment in what she calls "the third chapter," the years between 50 and 75 that, in this day and age, no longer mean retirement or slowing down but rather another kind of identity crisis.
All of us [individuals in the third chapter] at this point, to some degree, are on a search for meaningfulness, for purposefulness. And we want to find what this next 25 years, this penultimate chapter of our life, is going to be about. And we're ready for something new. For a new experience. For a new adventure. And I think all of us, to some degree, experience some burnout. Burnout is not about working too hard. Or working too diligently or being over committed. Burnout is about boredom. And so, I think in some ways this is about sort of moving beyond the boredom to compose, to invent and reinvent the path that we're on.Check it out at http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/05082009/watch2.html
Move past the boredom and compose... your life!