[PLEASE NOTE: subsequently to my efforts to tidy up a few entangled posts that deserved their own separated topics, I removed from here a couple of paragraphs relative to a polemic (yet another ) between me and fred. I don't think it will be a great loss for the forum to do without them, but just in case maybe I'll paste the removed excerpt back in the chatbox. Is all. Sorry for all the shuffling around.]
So, here are a few excerpts from my failing efforts to sum up my time over at Simon's. If you have the strength to read trough my lengthy tale, I'll welcome your questions, because I am sure I can satisfy your curiosity about many things I didn't think of in my account. But let's start with my feelings before our meeting
(...) The situation was funny enough because I did not know anyone. Not even Simon, really, with whom I had only talked over the phone a few times since the summer of 2010.
For all I knew, I could have been about to step into a trap, even exposing myself to some risk! Will it be a spooky situation? Will there be agents, hidden cameras, weird characters, spiked drinks, torture chambers? What really is this famous villa on the hills of Frascati? etc etc.
Although in the safety of receiving me in his own territory and among friends, I could also imagine that Simon probably had the same reserves about me, wondering what kind of person I was going to be, how I was going to act, speak, look. It is unsettling to think you are going to be scrutinized and analyzed in so many ways. Although, subconsciously, we probably do it all the time, with everyone we meet.
I had six hours of car trip from Milan to Rome to think about all this and still convince myself I was doing the right thing and settle my fears and worries. Yet I think that these fears, for ridiculous they will sound to you and now sound to me, are worth being mentioned, because they represent the transition from the Internet world to the physical world
, a crucial, fundamental transition that indeed must be lived when possible. On the other side of the fears is certainly something concrete and understandable, that has many advantages against its digital projection. I can’t express how lucky I feel that, entirely by accident, Simon and I both live in the same country and, albeit not living close to each other, with not too much effort we are able to step into each others’ real worlds.
The encounter of the 3rd kind
between me and Simon happened at night, across a non-illuminated round-about, in the middle of the sparse traffic coming from Frascati. He hollered from his FIAT panda nonhocapito, is that you?
I replied affirmatively from my FIAT punto... I followed his car (inside which was sitting forum member Alef as well) down to the villa, where the three of us properly met, outside the gates and still pretty in the dark. It will sound cheesy or affected to you, but there was a spontaneous hug between me and Simon right there that maybe summarized all the relevance we were giving to the moment (yeah i know, men are pathetic).
(...) Music was on, people were drinking, dancing and talking. It didn’t take long to understand how far-fetched and aleatory were my fears, and how instead I was in a “very normal” situation I had encountered many times before in my life: an italian party of nice-going friends having a good time all through the night, with music, wine, food and chats. (Plus a couple of cardboard twin towers and half a plane stuck into a wall. Fine, that could have been weird for some: but it was not weird for yours truly, he-he.)
(...) it's not flattery to say that Simon really appeared to me surrounded by beautiful people and friends. I think in part, obviously, it is in Simon’s character; in part it was my particular mood, as I had finally set for a trip after a long time of staying put, and everything appeared new to me; in part it is Italy itself that has all this to give to you, if you can see it and value it: Italy that still, despite everything, is a generous, sorry, sad, wonderful place on this darn earth.
And Simon’s house itself, despite its age, or maybe because of it, has a very welcoming air about it that adds to this feeling of warmth and ease. It is an open house, with many doors, many windows, many traces of the lives, of family and friends, that lived days or years or decades through it. One immediately wants to “stay”, and experience it. It is literally hard to leave the place. I can understand better now how Simon is so hardly perturbable by all the negativity and paranoia that can sometimes surround our research. He seem to have a nondescript, intangible way to create around himself a positive, generous, spontaneous atmosphere... Even the ones among his friends who, I imagine, can be bothered or molested by his ideas on 9/11 and fakery, and who, like the most of humanity, are probably not interested to approach them at this particular stage of their lives, still hang around without making too much fuss about it. This was very surprising, and encouraging to me. (...)
[to be possibly continued]