Pressure Cooker


Last night it was so hot I couldn't even think of going to bed before 3 a.m., then I woke up at 7:30. It was already 31°C/88°F. I feel as though my insides have been subjected to radiation until they've been reduced to a slightly mealy, hardened mass, and what I see in the mirror is just a leathery husk around not much at all. Like a microwaved potato.

Yes, I know, it's tedious that I go on and on about the heat, but it's hard to get past that. It's kind of all-consuming.

Today we tried to do something worthwhile, and went to a museum we've never been to (which sounds as though we've been to all the others; sadly, not). It's the Museo del Risorgimento, and covers the period from the first Napoleonic invasion in 1796, all the way through the unification of Italy and up to the first World War, with a focus on how these events affected Bologna. It's a period of Italian history about which I am woefully ignorant (not that I'm an expert on the others, either). It's also full of exciting adventures and historical figures whose names account for a good third of all of the streets and piazzas in this country: Garibaldi, Cavour, Mazzini, d'Azeglio.
As an added bonus, the museum is located in a lovely piazza I never even knew existed, in the house where the poet Giosué Carducci lived.

It was also closed, until the 25th. So after all that lead-in, I've got nothing more to tell you about the Risorgimento. Sorry. We were disappointed, too, if it's any consolation.
It's hard to have fun in this country in August, unless you're in a popular vacation spot. In which case I'd argue it's still hard to have fun, because you are surrounded by crowds of sweaty people.

Our little excursion thwarted, we stopped at the supermarket to pick up a few things, then went by the in-laws' place. Marisa was in a foul mood, for all kinds of good reasons, and Giorgio is having his annual bout of back pain, so he was a bundle of joy as well. On a whim, since I'd been feeling kind of dizzy all morning, I had them check my blood pressure (no self-respecting Italian household is without a sphygmomanometer). That turned out to be a mistake.

Marisa tried three times, but said she couldn't get a reading on the massima, just the minima, which was 65-ish. She had Giorgio try, but his hearing's not great and he couldn't get a reading at all. Finally Dario took his turn, and he figured out the problem. Sixty-five was right, but it was the massima, since my BP was 65 over 45.

Well, you'd think I'd suddenly been found to have some kind of fatal disease, and was refusing treatment. My mother-in-law in particular got very upset, insisting I should go to the doctor immediately (which I guess means tomorrow, since his office is closed today). I tried to argue that low blood pressure is not really a health risk, just a quality of life issue, but she was really worked up. After a couple of minutes of arguing, Dario took another reading, and it came out at 80 over 50. "See?" I said. "All you have to do is piss me off, and it goes back up again. I'm fine!"
That didn't go over too well either, I'm afraid.

We beat a hasty retreat soon after that.
It had better cool down soon, or things could get tricky around here.