But those are reasons for returning home, not reasons for leaving Italy, which is home to my husband, after all. Italy is the ultimate irony as a country. As I can easily see how Rome was surely the cradle of modern civilization, I can just as easily see that it was of course destined to fall. For anyone who has never lived in Italy, it is next to impossible to imagine the exquisite intricateness of every single stupid thing that every single pathetic normal person needs to do to live an ordinary existence. It is so beyond imagination, so unbelievable, that it makes you forget what life is like elsewhere.
Italy's intense and sometimes chaotic beauty is a reflection of its very nature, so vibrant, so rich, wealthy, gifted, graced by God, and at the same time so corrupt, so decadent, and so slothful. Italy supports a monstrous dinosaur that is the state, and the people inside the belly of this beast spend their days pushing paper and making life miserable for the poor souls trying to carve out a life in all that beauty that is Italy.
I could write forever, literally forever, if I started to recount the many bizarre and perverted ways the state creeps into to your life here (yes, I said perverted). But who better than Caravaggio to create a perfect allegory for the reasons why we are leaving Italy...
See that bitch with the knife? The one who looks like she really isn't quite convinced of what she is doing, but is doing it anyway because someone, somewhere told her to, and because doing it is easier than thinking about it? That's the clerk at the land registry office of our town. She's the one who makes just renting a house that you have owned for twenty years a nightmare, when she takes some dusty maps out of a drawer (yes, a drawer... no digital archives in Italy) and notices that the perimeter of the house somehow grew to encroach on public land... 100 years ago! This surely must be dealt with before the house can be rented! And the term "dealt with" in Italy is something best left to your imagination, that you would not wish on your most hated enemy.
See the old guy looking on and bored while waiting for the guy on the bed to just go ahead and croak? The one wringing his hands who looks famished? That's the Italian taxman! And the reason why he's so old is because he will never die! As soon as she's done beheading, he will then clean the corpse of everything, right down to his teeth, and then leave him the bill for what he still owes.
And who is the poor, honest, tireless, anguished guy screaming his head off under the knife? The one who has muscles from working his ass off from dawn to dusk and a beard because he spends so much time running from one Italian public office to another that he doesn't even have time to shave, all in the hopes that he can leave this country in a couple weeks as a free man?
That's my husband.