it began with vacuuming, but one thing led to another, and before long i was also dusting and cleaning the stove top. i also went out and got some supplies, some toilet paper, some kleenex, a bottle of 409. when it was all done there was nothing left to do but wait. marco was due to arrive at 3:00, and depending on whether or not he took the train or the taxi, the earliest he'd be here would still be 4:00.
so i went to belmont, figured maybe get some lunch, watch some tv, then return to cambridge. what i didn't expect to find was an empty house, nobody but the dog was home.
after going outside and checking up on the garden, i ate a zucchini bread muffin, finished a can of lime seltzer, then left for cambridge.
i should've worn a jacket because it was chilly on the motorcycle. fortunately the sun was out warming things up with its rays. there were some pretty clouds overhead, wispy strands which i knew to be high elevation clouds, 20,000 feet of ice crystals up in the air. my camera was in my bad and i didn't want to stop to take it out to snap some photos. but as soon as i got home, grabbed my camera and went across the street to the star market parking lot where i could get a clear view of the sky.
that wasn't enough so i ran back home, hopped on the bicycle, then made my way to the nearest highpoint, which in my case was prospect hill in union square. in hindsight i should've gone by motorcycle because pedaling up the hill was super strenuous (although i could simply disregard traffic rules when riding a bicycle). i dug out my nikon 4500 and brought along the infrared filter just for kicks. on such a nice saturday afternoon, i wasn't the only one up on the tower, taking in the landscape.
so i waited, sitting close to the living room window so i could better see anyone walking down the street. i was reading the hedge knight, a short story by george r.r. martin that takes place in westeros 100 years before the events of a song of ice and fire. it's a good story and contributes to the world building.
my mail order high blood pressure medication arrived today. the mailman tried to pass it through the mail slot but it got stuck halfway. at first i thought it was the additional bike bells i ordered, but the package was too big and i heard rattling inside. when i read the label i was afraid they send me the wrong prescription, "i did order any novartis." turns out novartis is just the manufacturer, diovan is the actual medication. i thought i had to pass through some more medical insurance bureaucratic hoops before getting this drug but looks like that's not the case.
marco finally showed up around 6:00. i noticed somebody outside my front steps with a large suitcase. i opened the door before he could ring the doorbell. "marco, welcome!" i said. he seemed normal enough, sort of resembled chicago bulls center carlos boozer but with glasses. he looked older than i'd imagined.
he told me he got here late because his spanish contact person (also a research coworker) went to go pick him up at the airport, but thought somebody else was coming as well, until an hour later realized the other person wouldn't be arriving until tomorrow.
i gave him a tour of the place and presented him with the 4 essentials: key to the house, shaws loyalty card, charlie card, and map of cambridge/somerville. i also showed him the secret to unlocking the front door (give it a little pull). we continued chatting in the kitchen over glasses of water. as i deduced, he's originally from milan. age 28, the youngest of a family with 3 other sisters. first time in the US. 3 years researching in san sabestián (basque, spain), another year in amsterdam. besides english and italian, also speaks spanish and a few words of basque. his english he actually learned in the netherlands.
he went to take a shower and got out of the bathroom wearing a robe. i've never seen a roommate sporting a bathrobe before. "tony, i don't think i can close the faucet," he said. turns out he didn't realize my hot water faucet is installed backwards and you need to turn it the wrong way in order to shut it off.
later he came out and asked when do i usually eat. i told him if he was hungry we could try the burrito place down the street. "should i order in spanish?" he asked me while we were checking out the menu board. "yeah you can, but if something goes wrong, i'm running out the door," i told him. my little joke seemed to put enough fear in him that he ended up ordering in english. when the cashier asked him if he wanted a drink, he thought for a moment and asked for beer. i came to his rescue and told him they don't have beer. the cashier was smiling in amusement. we ate in the restaurant, marco impressed with the size of our american burritos.
back at home, i told him if he wasn't busy tomorrow with his spanish friend, i'd be happy to show him around boston. he said his spanish contact wasn't so much a friend but more of a coworker, and took me up on my sightseeing offer. "the only thing is we have to be back home before 4:00, to watch american football," i told him. he agreed. i told him the things we'd see, including the italian north end. "a lot of those immigrants were from southern italy," he said, "the criminals." spoken like a milanese!
around 10:00 he went to bed, slightly jetlagged. i spent the rest of the evening figuring out the best tour route, if we were to start at MIT.