Thursday, October 7, 2010

Work trumps play every time

Imagine the scene: It's a warm afternoon in early October in Rome. Two girlfriends are walking through the Forum, and then the Palantine slowly in the gentle afternoon sun. Softly talking about Augustus and Livia - and the magnificence of the palaces that once were.

But it's not that simple. One's blackberry just keeps on buzzing. Beth, a corporate litigation partner at Wilson Sonsini, apologizes and says someone keeps contacting her and she needs to check. She checks. And then says she has to go back to the hotel to work on an urgent memo.

I ask "is it a client, or a partner?", and it turns out it is a partner who needs a piece of work completed that has been promised to a client- it just can't wait. Damn. We should learn to leave our smartphones behind; if we don't have them we cannot be contacted.

But that is the life we chose to live.

We hot foot down the curved steps of from the Palantine to Via di San Gregorio, flag down a cab in experienced New York style, zoom back to the hotel and separate until she's off the hook and done. Life on vacation as high powered silicon valley women - success comes at a price.

Juxtaposition of modern (1911 Victor Emmanuel monument), 1635 Santi Luce e Martina and the Curia, originally built in 52BC (but reconstructed after fire several times). Only in Rome do you find this depth of time in such close proximity.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Pazzo, ma non solo

Flying to Rome, tired and grimy, I notice a woman wearing a T shirt with "Boys play rock and roll" on the front. As an owner of the same black (very stylish) T shirt, I strike up a conversation about flying across the world to see a rock band.

I was utterly outclassed!

I love U2. I absorb their music through my skin, I dance to their rhythm, I wallow in their magic. And I go to 4-5 concerts each time they tour (like Milan last year). But to this woman from New Jersey I was just a light weight fan. She makes it to over a third of their concerts. Flying all over the world, especially in the States and Europe, to see them. She's 40, single, manic and fun, a rock n roll die hard.

Half asleep, standing at the baggage carousel waiting for my bags - she talked my ear off and I loved it. I woke up, laughed and envied her freedom. And at the concert last night I fantasized about following the band.

I would not be alone. Crazy, but not alone. I lost count of the number of U2 T shirts from all over the world I saw yesterday. Walking around the Colosseum, in bars, in churches, a wild juxtaposition of the ancient and modern.

Stay in my life, or become a groupie? Nah! Too much else to do. But they are fabulous.

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