Being that we took our finals for my Monday and Wednesday Renaissance Theory of Love class on Monday, we spent today doing something professors usually don’t bother with- we went over our exams. Usually I run at the mere thought of this- finals week is the point in the semester where yeah, I’ll study, but I don’t really care that much. I’m pretty sure I’m gonna pass anyway and I really just want to GTFO so I can go home and decorate for Christmas or do some other mundane activity.
So anyway, I wasn’t too psyched today to be going over exams in this class, one that which focuses on the philosophy of love during the Renaissance period, a subject my professor is incredibly psyched about. Before she handed us back our tests, she stood up, and started telling us about how when she was writing her Masters thesis, she was in the library doing research and looking at archives when she came across a primary source document that Leone Ebreo had written. She started waving her hands around and her blondish-grayish shoulder-length hair was kind of bobbing about and as she paced the room, she actually ran into the desk behind her a few times. All because it was so amazing to her to have seen Leone Ebreo’s real handwriting, his little dotted i’s and crossed t’s skimming a page that was filled with his own philosophy, his own ideas.
And as she spoke, I couldn’t help but glance up to my right and at the clock to see how close it was to 11:45 before wondering what the hell I had gotten on that final. That’s when it hit me- this woman is sitting here, telling me about her greatest passions in life, and I’m wondering what I got on a test in a class that I more or less picked out of a hat.
This feeling is what encompasses Italy for me- this grand PASSION. It doesn’t matter if an Italian is screaming at her boyfriend on the street or ordering a cappuccino or dancing in a sketchy dive bar across town. No matter what an Italian does, he does it with conviction. He does it because he wants to, hell, he has to.
Yet often I see in America, we gear towards the opposite. We take boring desk jobs we hate and we major in subjects our parents forced us to and we write half-assed papers and do lousy workouts at the gym. Where is the want? Where is the need? Why is this in Italy but seems to have skipped a few countries along the way?
Maybe it comes with living in cities in a country so romantic that people have been writing about it for hundreds of years, their joy practically hopping off the pages. Maybe it’s from being somewhere that has one euro gelato so good that you eat it in the dead of winter. I’m not really sure. No matter the case, it’s time we did something for us.
Quit your job, buy a ticket, fall in love…. just because you want to.