Mythology: Are We There Yet? (or... The Mystery of Sa Tonnara)
We hold these myths…
…to be true
By Joshua Lewin
I loved Rome. Every step, sight, and breath of it. But I was surprised to love it so much. So many people had told me how they didn’t enjoy it. In so many different ways.
Didn’t enjoy Rome? Seems a silly thing to be able to find complaint about — visiting Rome.
Right?! I guess in their defense, the common theme in their dislike was just the busyness of it all. The sameness.
Sameness to what they already see every day. The urbanity.
Urbanity can be found right here at home, so why fly to the seat of classical civilization just to be confronted with more of it. Something like that?
Yeah, something like that.
So what was different for you?
Well, that’s just it, I didn’t see Rome that way at all. Sure, it’s a city. People live and work there. People love and die there. Corporations divide it up and build there.
I guess when I close my eyes and think of Italy, all I see is sheep and goats, sleeping under olive trees, weathered hands kneading pasta with open palms, and the sound of wind in the leaves. That sort of thing. I guess that doesn’t make a lot of sense though.
Those places are there. But you don’t go to Rome for that. You can rustle under the olive trees in Sardinia.
Well, and a lot more places than that.
Yeah, but if you’re in Sardinia, you can wake up and surf Sa Tonnara.
Nevermind. But here’s the thing. If it’s just sheep you are after, you can find that in Vermont. Seeing a place at rest isn’t all that is worth traveling for. Rome is alive. With its people, and its history.
Boston is full of history, too. So why travel for that if you won’t travel for sheep.
What? 300 years. Sure you can trace Paul Revere’s ride here, you can pace the lines of a world changing revolution. But compared to what? One breath of the air in Rome and this history might as well be contemporary. Hey, what’s the most difficult thing for you — today?
Thing? Most difficult thing? What are you talking about?
I’m talking about whatever you want. What is tough. Right now. Today. For you?
Sounds a little cliché, but, just...finding time, I guess. Work drags on without end, Netflix ques grow by the second, I’m walking around collecting to-dos, things I have to do and things I want to do, but I never seem to have a second to actually do any of them. I can’t keep up. Home, office. I feel like no one can.
I’m with you. We all are.
So, that is why people take these vacations, just to relax. Right? No one wants to see the sheep wake up and get to work. Turn out the lights.
Sure, but look: In Rome, you can take ten steps from the action and look face to face with 2,000 years. You can live inside of it. You can breathe it in. Names, places, deeds, wine to drink, all preserved in terra cotta. There’s no rush, even right in the middle of it all. At least there doesn’t have to be. The rush is young. American. Like a five year old on a car ride...either ‘are we there yet, are we there yet’ or passed out, head in their lap. But you grow up, and you grow out of it, and you learn to enjoy the changing landscape as you go.
So Rome is a car ride.
Well, that’s a whole ‘nother story for another day. We’re never going to be there yet. Or we always have been.