I woke up this morning with a migraine sitting above my eyes banging on cymbals like an angry little toy monkey. I could blame last night’s slow slip negroni, which was enjoyed at open mic night at The Goose, but that really couldn’t be it even though the waiter was Scottish and the drink was curiously sweet. This wasn’t my first trip to the negroni rodeo and it was only one drink
It’s only May, but somebody has just turned on the oven. This morning to be exact. Change is in the air. Just barely, but it’s unmistakable. During July and August Florence is a god forsaken oven. It sits in a valley and the stone bakes mercilessly until it scorches. The air stands perfectly still and it is crushingly humid. You could effectively cook a pizza on the sidewalk in any piazza in Florence and the only escape is to the Etruscan hill towns that sit above the haze.
I wasn’t prepared for this, mentally or otherwise.
I sought alternative medicine. Raw is a vegan, raw foods, juice bar just beyond the view of Santo Spirito. An oasis of all things natural, you walk in and think to yourself that if you only ate like this every day, you might live forever. It’s also a place where you can see clearly that processed food is the devil, where you actually believe that you could just grow all of your own food, and you convince yourself that you could do a juice cleanse without starving to death. The tall elvish woman working her magic over the juicer, has such a full on translucent vegan glow that she is brighter that Dante’s Beatrice ascending to the stars. This, of course, is not good when you have a migraine. I explained about the monkey and she went into triage mode. It must be allergies since the pollen in Florence was thick today in response to the sun. She threw in matter-of-factly that allergy medicine is poison just before she turned and got to work preparing a shot of turmeric, ginger, and lemon. It forcefully coated my throat like a shot of adrenalin. It’s like donning chainmail in an urban jungle.
Walking past Palazzo Pitti, I noticed that florentines were desperately holding onto their wardrobes of sweaters and heavy pants while I, despite our common gene pool, was already breaking into a sweat. Okay, maybe just schvitzing, but this was surely just the beginning. I may have panicked like a person buying the last loaf of bread in the grocery store before a hurricane. Supermarkets have about as much chance of running out of carbs as Florence had of running out of linen said the logical side of my brain. Yet, I knew that there was a store near Porta Romana that sold locally made linen dresses. Surely this would keep the sweat at bay. The sales woman recognized me from the market two weeks before. I was the person who told her that I always wear black, although I was warming up to the idea of a colorful dress this spring. But the market day was cold, gray, and wet- I just wasn’t there yet. I told her I would find the store. Pink. I let the woman convince me to buy a pink dress. I tried unsuccessfully to explain to her that what she mistook for natural pink in my cheeks was the heat as summer turned from a promise into a reality. At least I’m now prepared.