We were traveling as a family of four and staying just around the corner from the Piazza Navona in a cute little place called Hotel Teatro Pace. Just a few paces from our front door there was a lively little street filled with bars, sidewalk tables, and the pirate. Well that’s what we discreetly called him anyways. He was always there. Alone. Holding a beer, staring into space, and occasionally taking a drink from his pint. His face seemed kind and he wore a red bandanna that covered his entire head which reminded my brother of a pirate (hence the nickname). His demeanor, however, was really out there. After seeing him consistently day after day we worked up the nerve to ask our bartender what was up with that guy. Whether it was conjecture or gossip we were told that a few months ago he was normal (whatever that means). Then apparently one day he showed up at the bar in this trance (perhaps owing to an encounter with drugs) and now was just as we saw him. A loner who smiled at everyone who passed even when they openly talked shit. The pirate was cool.
After having been in Rome for a week our plans dictated that we depart for Florence. A beautiful city filled with charm and shops we soon discovered that because we were visiting in August, which is when a lot of Italians go on holiday, there was a quiet lull that quickly filled our days. Initially we had planned to stay for five but instead cut the trip to three so we could go back to Rome and enjoy our al fresco corner bar and see our pirate. Luckily our hotel was able to accommodate our request to return and we were soon on our way.
It didn’t take long for us to get back into the swing of things and two days before we were due to head back to the States we, once again, found ourselves sitting outside our bar having a few beers. As I had mentioned previously we were a family of four. Me, my Mom, my Dad and my brother. As I walked back to our table after having ordered another drink I noticed my brother was missing. As I inquired on his whereabouts my Mom mentioned that he had headed back to the hotel. I was dumbfounded and quite honestly a little annoyed. What do you mean? He just got up and left? WTF? I just ordered another beer! Apparently he wasn’t feeling too hot so my Mom said she was going to go and check in on him. My Dad and I reluctantly decided we too should leave so after a quick few sips from my pint we made the short journey back to Teatro Pace. What we discovered upon entering that hotel room has become one of those legendary tales that comes up around the holidays when the family is all together and we’ve all had a few cocktails. The events unfolded as follows …
My Mom walked into my brother’s hotel room to ensure he was ok. She found him laying on his bed but as soon as she entered he leapt up, dashed into the bathroom and closed the bathroom door. After a few minutes my Mom heard the shower running. Everything ok? Check! Then after a few more moments she began to notice water creeping into the bedroom from underneath the bathroom door. The water’s pace began to quicken. Her first thought “What …. the …. hell?” which in a hot flash escalated to “Oh my God! The hardwood floors!” She yelled to my brother “What are you doing?!!?” Instinctively she ran into the hallway to look for something to stop the water flow. As luck would have it there was an unlocked armoire just across the hall filled with clean linens so she grabbed an arm full of towels, rushed back into the bedroom and began blanketing the floor with them (at this point the water was everywhere). That’s when my Dad and I entered the room. When we opened the door we couldn’t process what was happening. Why was Mom surrounded by a thousand towels? Why was she on her hands and knees with a white cloth in hand? She quickly explained she was drying the wooden floor in hopes of preventing it from warping. Just then my brother appeared from the bathroom wearing an expression that stated rather than asked “what”. My Father and I, perplexed, were like – what? My brother threw himself on the bed and my Dad and I stood there trying to process the scene. We soon learned that my brother had vomited whilst in the bathroom and had jumped in the shower to clean himself off. Once in the stall he noticed a shiny metal object in the middle of the bathroom floor and thinking it was a drain took the shower head and began hosing down the tiled walls and the floor of the bathroom. Turns out it wasn’t a drain.
Seeing that everything was now under control as far as the water was concerned I looked at my brother and not very articulately (the beer was starting to take hold) announced “you need pizza”. My Father agreed and so together we headed back out into the warm and humid night. As we approached our corner bar where the unfolding of that evening’s events had begun we looked at each other and knew. I said “I’m not ready to go back to the hotel. Are you?” He agreed. So we walked into our bar and ordered another round. Farewell Rome! You showed us an amazing time.