This is the story of me being a bitch at Pompeii. I was a bitch, but only because I find history boring, and I love eating. (N.B. Just to clarify I don’t really hate history, but I’d prefer to be talking with people and sharing good food and wine, than staring at old buildings or dirt – I’m not an archeologist. And; earlier in our honeymoon I concluded that if I can Google Image Search it, I’m not interested in standing in front of it, trying for a glimpse or photograph, and/or trying to avoid reaching second-base [Matt’s note: Second base is further than I got that day] with at least one of the 100,000 tourists competing for what I can view on my iPhone). I want cultural experiences – the view, sounds, tastes, feelings, smells (bacon), and conversation.
Matt knew this, because the day before we caught a train to Naples (from Florence) so I could eat a pizza. It was amazing and worth the train trip, expensive hotel room, and the litres of urine that lapped our Converse on Naples’ back streets as we walked to and from the pizzeria.
I digress. Matt decided on the way to Amalfi (pizza, gelato, limoncello etc.) that we should “pop into Pompeii”, because it’d “only take half an hour”.
Instead it took two, because we didn’t pay €700 for a map or ear-wax-decorated talking headset, got lost, and it turns out Pompeii is a city, not an apartment.
Post-lunch time, I couldn’t feign any more interest in looking at this:
..and wanted the appropriately timed meal, so when Matt asked if there was anything there I found interesting, I offered “No”. My delivery was in the style of what he calls ‘Anti-Tout Face’ which to that point, had proven 100% successful in deterring sellers of ‘genuine’ Ray Bans and Louis Vuitton luggage from approaching us, in all cities. Basically it involves me looking blankly with my blunt-cut fringe and ski-jump nose. Alternatively, imagine what Oscar losers look like when they’re caught off guard. Without the bulimia.
He did not respond favourably.
He yelled. I yelled. I was “selfish”. He was a “jerk”. “Fuck” “fuck” “fuck”. This exchange was far more entertaining than my surrounds, so it didn’t bother me. Also; we got to leave.
Afterwards I explained to Matt that visiting Pompeii provided me as much entertainment as visiting a Kardashian home would for both of us. He kind of understood. Hashtag fact: You can’t like what you don’t.
Usually Matt is far more tolerant of my history aversion, and preference for eating above all other activities, however I think I’d pushed him to his limit, after getting upset with him earlier on our honeymoon, for weeing too much. Which was another totally rational reason to be upset. Now, Matt wants to blog about boring history…
For 500 or so years no one in ancient Pompeii looked at the giant volcano-shaped mountain behind them and thought “isn’t it a bit strange that we’re getting all these earthquakes, maybe we should live somewhere else instead of under a giant volcano-shaped mountain”. Even if you look at it now the mountain is unnerving. And imposing. It’s so high up there it snows, even though Mt Vesuvius is so far South in Italy it’s practically in Africa. In fact there are so many African men touting Gucci sunglasses and carrying Luis Vuitton handbags outside Pompeii that if you arrived in Pompeii as a blind person and the volcanic air miraculously cured you of your blindness you would think you WERE in Africa. A very gay part of Africa.
According to Wikipedia Mt Vesuvius is ‘the world’s most dangerous active volcano’ because it erupts spectacularly approximately every 50 years and lots of people live nearby. In 79AD ancient Pompeii was a city of 25,000 people. Now, in 2012, ancient Pompeii is a city of 4 million people. It’s not called ‘Ancient Pompeii’ anymore though, it’s called Naples, and it’s the birthplace of pizza. The official story is that sometime circa 1850 the Napolitans began adding tomato puree and melted cheese to their flat bread to make it more palatable. The most likely explanation is that they were forced to invent pizza because their normal sandwiches kept getting flattened by cheese-melting, lunch-ruining volcanic eruptions, and they figured they might as well cut to the chase, pre-melt the cheese, pre-flatten the bread and give themselves more time to run when Mt Vesuvius inevitably went nuts.
Rebecca wanted to call this post: ‘Why you shouldn’t take someone who has no interest in history, is worried about getting skin cancer, and likes to eat main meals at main meal times, to an historical monument, on a 35 degree day for two hours, in place of lunch.’ We settled, in the interests of brevity, on ‘Pompeii’.
There are two morals to this story:
- Mt Vesuvius ruins lunch
- Don’t ruin Rebecca’s lunch