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Will Durst's Italy Diary

Italy. "'Livelyhood' is going to Italy." That was the beauty part. Telling friends why my attendance at some pathetically predictable clustering at the normal neighborhood dive the following week was not to be. "Love to join the festive throng celebrating the successful de- worming of your ex, but alas and alack, I'm off to Italy for six days." No, not Italy, Montana you scut. Italy, Italy. You know… pasta, Vespas, an entire country full of people with vowels at the end of their names. Italy, where food, wine and shoes are king. And afternoon naps are right up there.

Usually, our Little- Show- That- Could focuses on municipalities one horse short of qualifiction in the one horse town directory in destinations far too remote to allow the bright yellow indoor- outdoor extension cords of traditional media outlets to plug in. And though Pollyanna may refer to them as prettier paths less traveled, rarely does the mention of a destination like Nome, Tuscaloosa or Scowheagan rate more than the slight nod of a head, and only then when mumbled mid- flight path of a slow swarm of drowsy gnats. A quickened pulse, never. But now for the Global show, our crew was off to Italy… and I sensed green eyed animosity directed my way. Cool. Exponentially from the home front. Not so cool. "No, honey, its totally for work. I promise I won't even think of having a good time."

And I didn't. Think of it. In Italy, darling, things like that just happen. Because there wasn't time to think of anything, like gifts of Italian leather or even writing post cards. We worked from 7 in the morning till 7 at night. Then ate and then crashed. Ate well, I got to admit. I mean, it was Italy. Oh, did I mention that already? And we drank well as well. But our schedule was, in a word, stupid. For instance:

Destination Arrival Departure
Milano Wed 9am Thur 11am
Turino Thur 3pm Thur 6pm
Bra Thur 8pm Sat 4pm
Treviso Sat 10pm Sun 10am
Venice Sun 12pm Sun 11pm
Treviso Mon 12am Mon 7am
Parma Mon 12pm Tue 6am

Finally, on Tuesday in Parma I cabbed it from the hotel to the train station, where I hopped a local to Milano. Then a bus to the airport and a lovely middle coach seat to DC. After an hour to get through customs, I hiked about three miles to a far less pleasant smelling terminal in Dulles, grabbed the last seat on a flight to Chicago, staggered uphill to my Minneapolis connection, after which I engaged one more cab to the Holiday Inn, dropped my stuff off, then crumpled onto a hotel shuttle to the Acme Comedy Club, where I recited stand up comedy to 150 people.

Of course I caught a heinous cold and spent the next four days bedridden with just enough energy to hock up a few jokes each night until collapsing into a pool of olive oil flavored sweat and I'd do it all again in a New York minute. Except for the residual spousal whining: "My husband went to Italy and all I got was some cheese." But, honey, it was Parmigiana Reggiano. Aged for 3 years. Unh- hunh. So what. Big deal. Then, the following month, we went to Brazil, again without her, and things got even uglier. Will Durst is host of Livelyhood and eats a mean cheese.

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