So I’m not trying to avoid you, I swear! I really like you guys! It’s all the Internet’s fault. Specifically it’s FastWeb’s fault for cutting off our service. You know how in the US when you miss a payment they tack on the previous amount to the new bill? Yeah, they don’t do that here. For whatever reason the bill didn’t get paid in April and this past Friday they shut off the internet connection even though all subsequent bills have been paid. I don’t get it either. If you figure it out let me know. Now you know why I’ve been off the radar for a while. It’s not like you missed much anyway. We did a whole lot of nothing on Saturday and yesterday we drove to a nearby park so I could practice driving Greg’s car. I know *how* to drive a manual I’m just not so great at it. Too many things to remember. I much prefer a vehicle that does the thinking for me. Does that mean when the Terminators arrive I’ll be enslaved or immediately killed by them? Probably. Eh, what are you gonna do?
The real fireworks happened early this morning (get your mind out of the gutter) when the craziest thunderstorm I’ve ever heard came in around 3 a.m. We were woken up, or at least I was woken up by the most deafening crash of thunder and simultaneous blinding flash of lightning that scared the crap out of me. My “good lord!” response may have been what actually woke Greg up, I can’t be sure. The storm was apparently directly over us because there were easily three or four more huge cracks of thunder and bright lightning flashes. Part of me really wanted to go to the window and see what was getting struck by the lightning but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Normally I love thunderstorms but this one was insane. When it finally moved on several house and car alarms were going off both nearby and down the hill in Chiaia. I finally got the nerve to go check it out and saw the most beautiful thing – Vesuvius backlit by the lightning flashes. It was so surreal and stunning. If there hadn’t been another cell moving overhead I would have gotten out my camera for some long exposure shots.
This morning when I was thinking about it I was wondering why it didn’t occur to me that the sound of thunder could have been the volcano erupting. I guess when it’s something you’ve never experienced it wouldn’t be the first thing you think of. Good thing it was just a thunderstorm because we were totally unprepared for anything else.
The climate of southern Italy is a lot like that of southern California. This so-called Mediterranean climate is characterized by hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters. Most of the rain in these areas falls during the winter time and places can go 4-6 months without seeing any precipitation at all. Personally, I love weather. I love crazy extreme weather that gets people talking. You don’t even know how bummed I was to miss out on the derecho and the insane heat wave back in DC. I missed out on the blizzard of December 2009 and got stuck in Zurich, Switzerland over night when our flight to IAD was cancelled. (That also resulted in my having to pay a $500 fine to the Swiss for over-staying my tourist visa. P.S. Don’t fly through Switzerland if you over-stay your visa.) Naples exists in a sort of bubble where no exciting weather happens. Ever. The further north you go you’ll encounter snow storms, crazy rain events, flooding, excessive heat, you know, the cool stuff. But here, we get bad air from a mix of all the cars, the constant burning of trash, a steady high-pressure system, and a marine layer that doesn’t move. The only interesting weather is during the winter when the winds come. Sometimes they get so strong they move between the buildings at such a rate that they howl. On occasion that howling is so loud you can barely hear the tv. The winds also like to blast doors open and blow rain inside. They can be such jerks sometimes. Okay, so Naples has one cool weather phenomenon. (They also had a freak snowstorm last winter but since I wasn’t here for that I’m not counting it.)
Because Naples is perpetually sunny it came as a nice surprise today when for five minutes it got cloudy, there were two rumbles of thunder, and we had a little rain. It literally lasted for only those five minutes but it was still a refreshing change of pace. Always having sunny days requires you to always feel upbeat even when you don’t want to. It’s like the Sun demands it, “I’m going to shine and you’re going to be happy and smile your stupid face off, dammit.” Well sometimes I don’t want to be all smiling and happy, sometimes I want it to be dark and cloudy, or I want to see a huge thunderstorm on the horizon and watch rain drops the size of quarters pelt the ground. Even though I’m always lazy cloudy days mean I can be lazy without feeling guilty about it. The weather here is the definition of insane, at least according to Ben Franklin: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Okay, so I’m forcing a round peg into a square hole, I’m not so good at metaphors. But you get my point, right?
Sure it’s always nice to know that when you come to Italy in the summer you’re pretty much guaranteed warm, sunny weather. I get that. It’s why I love going to Florida in the winter. Even if the temperature is in the 70s, which for SW Florida is like the arctic, it’ll still be warmer than Maryland. But seriously, can we at least get one day of rain? Just one? Anyway, I guess there are worse things in the world than six months of perpetual sunshine.
Ooh yay! I hear more thunder!