It’s Table Topic Tuesday time.
Which *other* culture would I choose to be born into?
I’m 1/4th Italian which makes me a maestro in the culture, right? Magari!
First, there’s the language. It’s the love language. The language of the Renaissance and revival. If wine is bottled poetry, Italian is that wine uncorked. Each voluptuous sentence seems to promise love or music or the best pasta you’ve ever put in your mouth.
Calabria, Napoli. Gelato. Every Italian word tastes so good. Roll them between your cheeks. Just look at all of these vowels!
And I love that Italian is not just the words that fall out of their lips. Italians feel each syllable all the way to their clenched, shaking fists. No matter what they’re saying (and unless it’s “cannoli” or “vino” I have no idea what they’re saying) it all sounds like kiss, kiss, hug, hug, let’s all go have dinner, have a smooch and have a nap. And that’s one happy serenade.
Speaking of happy, look at the paper scraps of passion blanketing the Wall of Love in Verona. Here, lovers leave letters a la Romeo & Juliet.
And Italy is a coastal country, too. I’m a Pisces, so the sea sings to me. This particular pink beach, on the shore of Sardinia, is crooning my name (in Italian).
Can you smell that briny-thick breeze? I imagine Italy smells like love, the sun-soaked Mediterranean mingles with whole plump garlic cloves bathing in hot golden oil, interlaced with almond, bergamot, cedar wood and vanilla. Plus pizza.
It’s just a yummy culture. But nothing is more lovely than this little nugget. An Italian mantra. Delicious idleness. Sweet doing nothing.
What a magical old expression.
Now you need to hear from my friends.
If I could be born into another culture it would have to be in ancient Rome during its prime. You know, when Rome was referred to as an empire. This is how dinner party conversation would go:
“Where are you from? Oh, Wikachichi Florida you say… How interesting. I hear about that city often where I’m from. Where is that you ask? Oh. I was born in an empire. Yup. An empire. Just across the pond. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it. The Roman Empire. You have heard of it! How splendid. It’s pretty great as far as empires go. If you’ve never visited an empire before, you must… They are deviiiiine.”
Then I’d take a long sip of my wine from my goblet as I touch their cheek gently with the back side of my hand, and walk away.
Other examples of dinner party quotables include:
“I have heard Wrigley Field is wonderful. Is it anything like the Colosseum or the Circus Maximus? You know, I saw a man riding a lion fight a bear there.”
“How was your Bar class this am? What! The AC was out!? Ooooh sounds rough. Well, I have Gladiator Training School this evening so I better get going!”
“This meal looks delicious… But I typically don’t dine at the table. I prefer to eat all my meals lying down on a couch.”
But best of all, the Romans made wearing a bed sheet out in public totally ok. These guys could get out of bed, wrap the sheet around them that they just slept in, throw on some flip flops and hit the town. The toga is like the elegant snuggie of yore. Plus, you can insta-nap everywhere. You’re wearing half a bed already.
Do you understand how many discussions I’d have to have with HR if I showed up to work in a bed sheet? Let alone the discussion about why I have a branch wrapped around my head like I’m king of the wood elves.
Which other culture would you choose to be born into?
I could say I’d like to be born into royalty. I’ve always liked laying around and doing nothing and imagine a staff of subjects, including a Court Jester, would be pretty baller. But, there would be no Netflix; the Court Jester would be my Netflix. (*Ponders writing a pilot about a Court Jester thrown into today’s culture. *Is immediately distracted by 37 episodes of 30 Rock.) Netflix is better than a Court Jester. Next.
I could say I’d like to be born into whatever culture it was that Shakespeare was doing his thing in. Seeing a Shakespeare performance with Billy in the audience would be like seeing Kendrick Lamar at SXSW in 2009 or something. I also just made a Shakespeare-Kendrick comparison and I think I should be commended for that. But, there are probably 4 or 5 really good Shakespeare options on Netflix and I wouldn’t have to wear a funny hat and pantaloons; I could wear basketball shorts and decided whether or not to change underwear that day. Netflix is better than Shakespeare.
I could say I’d like to be born into that culture Wood Allen captured in Midnight in Paris… the imaginary culture Owen Wilson traveled to, not like the ‘trying to sell a screenplay’ culture he actually lived in. It’d be dope to get first edition copies of Hemingway and Fitz’s books and go around to jazz clubs wearing busboy hats. I think I could do well in that culture… I look really good in those hats. But, Midnight In Paris will probably be on Netflix at some point… or at least HBOGo. Netflix is better than Paris.
Do you realized how amazing Netflix is? For like $10 you can watch ANYTHING. Ok, ok, the movies aren’t great, but at the push of an Apple TV button you can watch thousands of episodes of TV about ANY CULTURE EVER and you don’t have to be around people, you can eat food in your boxers, WHATEVER FOOD YOU WANT FROM ANY CULTURE.
I choose the Netflix culture. That is my culture of choice.
French Culture, and here’s (mainly) why:
1) French food. And I’m not just talking about expensive French restaurant faire; I mean just legit, amazing food. Have you ever had peaches from France in the summer? Amazing. Fresh baguettes and brie for lunch? Awesome. And let’s not forget the out-of-this-world pastries. But overall, the French culture has a different relationship with food. They don’t consume to be satiated; they consume with a love of the process and a passion for using fresh and homemade ingredients to create the finished product. In turn, they don’t have to worry about “eating healthy” because it just happens.
2) Urge to Explore. I think this is true for a lot more European countries vs the US, but there seems to be a stronger drive to travel and experience cultures different from your own. I was working with a young French producer one time and one of her goals was to move to China in the next year because she wanted to live somewhere where she didn’t speak the language. I thought that was pretty cool, and something I can’t imagine my friends here saying.
3) Quality of Life. Maybe it’s the all the wine, but the French seem to just have a more relaxed culture. Less worrying, more sitting at tables well after a meal is finished just to talk and connect. Sure, they still have stress with their jobs, families and have money issues just like the rest of us, but the French culture seems to operate with more of a “glass half full” mentality—maybe because it’s half full of champagne.
Your turn. Which culture would you choose?