Dear Paola,

(who hit me with a scooter on one of the busiest streets in Rome that I had to cross every day, thereby scarring me (psychologically) for the rest of the trip every time I needed to go anywhere for the rest of the month)—(and left me with a nasty bruise about the size of a flask spanning my left elbow, which hurt every time someone bumped me (a complaint especially relevant, it turns out, in the dance club MOOD))—

I’d like to thank you for giving me about as lovely a scooter-hit experience as anyone’s ever had.  First of all, you barely sideswiped me.  Second, you sort of panickedly slowed to a stop and tipped over in a mild crash yourself in your attempt to see if I was ok.  Third, you were a very nice middle-aged Italian woman named Paola wearing a lovely blue dress, possibly on your way to a dinner party where you all would laugh and yell and gesture continually over endless bottles of vino and fresh summer vegetables and many many cheeses, with bambinos scattered about your feet.

You also spoke excellent English and tried to buy me a drink.  (I realized I was ok, backed up to the sidewalk, and burst into tears.) Water? Wine? Drink? Across the street.  Come, please, let me.

You also, I think (things are a little hazy), gave me a hug.  And stayed with me until my friends arrived.  And your name is Paola, which is a cool and mouth-pleasing version of a name we have in America.  And you insisted on giving me your phone number in case I needed anything.  (I don’t know what that would be—-I half expected you to say, anything, really, I know a guy.)  I think you would have taken me home with you if my friends hadn’t shown up right then.  Which would have been kind of amazing, honestly.

Plus.  Now I can say I got hit by a scooter in Rome.

Which is really an essential Italian experience.

Anyway, Paola, I hope you are well, and not worried about me.  I’m fine.  It’s a good story.  The bruise is gone.  I much enjoyed showing it to people and saying, faux-casually, Oh this? Yes, this is from when I got hit by a scooter….or, more accurately and more often, insisting they examine the shades of green with great pride.

Give the bambinos a kiss for me.

Best,

MM

Not the street where I got hit by the scooter.