Chocolate Spagetti

I don’t speak Italian. That’s one reason I probably feel more relaxed in Milan. I can’t read the bad news in the paper and I can’t overhear anxious conversations, the TV news is just blather. Meanwhile, because Milan is a fashion center, there is a constant promenade going on and I like the sound of the Italian language that goes with it. In this setting and stripped of its content, it sounds even more theatrical. In my ignorance I savor the impression that it means nothing. It is as if it were a song shared by an entire city. Hell, imagine an entire country full of people who enjoy making sing song noises accompanied by excessive gesticulations for no good reason. It beats Dadaism! Of course they appear to be doing the same things everyone else in the world is doing, but are they? Are those really their children? Do they really all have jobs, or is this a parallel universe advertizing frivolity and flair? I know this is a fancy neighborhood, but are those smartly dressed people actually foolish enough to go to work if they don’t have to? Maybe they are using the street as a stage, strutting from one dressing room to another for a costume change. Maybe all this is being filmed… The other day I saw two identical twin blondes in their late middle years, still attractive, dressed the same in stylish black dresses with zebra striped heels. I’m not making this up, even if to me it really looked like a set up. They were down by the Duomo. The two of them had the center stage as they took a seat in an outdoor cafe against the wall, facing their audience with complete studied indifference. As if they were the only thing that existed in the entire universe!  I spotted them again about an hour later having what appeared to be a serious conversation. I know they were just jabbering for show.

Of course it was unsettling to hear a baby crying in the early hours of the morning yesterday. No translation necessary for that noise. The muffled wails of an infant somewhere in the building are disturbing without meaning a thing.  They interrupted my laziness as I lay in the bed, slightly hungry, not wanting to get up and face another day. What could be so wrong in the kid’s life already? Doesn’t it know that mommy and daddy are going to feed and clothe it for at least another 20 years or so? Judging by this neighborhood, mom and dad are doing just fine too, so why doesn’t it relax and lead a babied life for a while? I can’t help remembering another Italian youngster I got to know in Manali in North India some years back. He was about 3 years old. His mom was Italian and his dad was a crazy Englishman. I was teasing him, suggesting he might enjoy some Spagetti Chicolatti, for lunch. Of course he embraced the idea with the full enthusiasm of childish imagination, and immediately started pestering his already stressed mom about this possibility. I’m sure she didn’t find my cleverness in the least bit amusing. She was already dealing with a demented daddy who believed the Aliens were going to land. He was organizing a welcoming party for them back in the UK to assure them that “Love was the Answer”. (I don’t know what planet he was from).  Daddy believed that love was the answer to all his problems. His wife was a little more concerned about the financial future of the shared products of their particular expression of love. Their love recently resulted in another mouth to feed and dad wasn’t exactly the most practical fellow. I had a brief chat that evening about UG with two young mothers by the fire at the guest house. The two were friends and wanted to know what that book I was writing was about. When I talked about UG’s practicality the mothers were a lot more interested than dad was. Something about UG’s practicality was unsettling to him, particularly when I quoted the line “relationship means ‘what do I get out of it’?”  They exchanged knowing glances with each other, rolling their eyes while dad raved on about ‘the only answer…’

Junior meanwhile, was by now crying constantly for that chocolate spaggetti. Even now I feel a twinge of  guilty laughter at the memory of her telling the poor little scoundrel “Marko! Spagetti Chicolatti non-essisto!” Wow. How easy was it to plant that idea in the kid’s head? Just the hint of a combination of a practical food group with candy went right into his little brain housing unit without a hiccup. Not much different from telling people there’s hope for their future happiness in getting a better job, a more beautiful girlfriend or boyfriend or wife or husband, learning a new language, having kids, getting more money, getting married, visiting a new exciting country, or getting enlightened for that matter. Put some things in a person’s head and they just never leave. Chocolate Spagetti indeed. It’s out there.   That’s why I’m glad I don’t understand what the people around me are saying for the moment. At least for a while and by force, I’m immune to more ideas that could change my life. I already have a head full of chocolate spagetti melting and dripping from my eyes ears and nose, making it impossible to see things the way they actually are…

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11 Responses to Chocolate Spagetti

  1. Franko says:

    Eh Luigi,

    This’a piece is’a Bellissimo!
    Please write’a and publish The U.G. Biografica.
    Or else!

  2. Mart Konst says:

    Hello Louis,
    But chocolate spaghetti do exist (I found some recipes on google) 😉
    And I think that even without chocolate spaghetti it is “impossible to see things the way they actually are…”.

    Thanks for your words, I love the way you write about life

  3. Renu Maria Pia Giaccone says:

    Yes i believe chocolate spaghetti exist in Germany or as a product of some perverted mind.
    Not understanding the language was also a bonus when living in India.
    I am in London now. Unfortunately I understand the language

    If you are in Milano go to the Antica Focacceria S.Francesco Via S. Paolo 15
    You’ll find good Sicilian food

    Love your blog

    Greetings from Italian Renu

    • louisbrawley says:

      Thanks for the tip Renu. Yes, I wish I did not understand the language in my own head, at least for some break now and then…

      All the best to you in London.


      • Andres says:

        That is really interesting, actually! Who understands/interpret the thoughts in your head? Is it thought interpreting thought? Or is there another entity who understands, for example, english?

    • Mart Konst says:

      Lol, poor Germans, why make them responsable for all our misery?

      • Renu Maria Pia Giaccone says:

        True… I think I saw some choc spaghetti in USA. …Misery is universal. There was a town called MISERY (in America) UG went often there, i believe there is one photo of him pointing at the town sign

  4. Cédric says:

    Hi louis,

    I have a lot of pleasure reading your blog for i don’t know how many months now.
    And i enjoyed also listen to your interviews with “Bouddha at the gaz pump” and Willem de Ridder about UG and your time spent with him.

    I came across U.G on the internet some years ago ( after having first “met” the words of JK, like you did if i’m not wrong ). UG is the man/ speaker/ “teacher” i fell the most close to.

    I’ve no idea why i’m telling you all that but i just wanted to.

    All the best.


    PS : I speak french so sorry for the mistakes i certainly made ! 😉

    • louisbrawley says:

      Dear Cedric,

      Thank you for the kind note. Certainly no apologies are needed, you communicate very well. I am happy to share anything I can about UG. He was so important in my life, that is the least I can do…

      thank you again


  5. Great post! You could fill a book with these and do just fine I think, without any overarching thematic framework beyond ‘echoes in the space between my ears left upon UG’s absence’ or some such. Take care!

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