La Dolce Vita
The impermeable grip of mobile devices means that everything can be captured but nothing can be retained. I have a very real and pronounced anxiety regarding ephemerality, afraid of forgetting something precisely as I am experiencing it in real time.
It’s happening everywhere. Our music has no digital weight anymore, our books arriving sans ink. Files shuttle between skeuomorphic folders and trash cans. Everything is there, but I can’t grasp it, it feels edgeless. This extends to experiences, the sensation that this too may be something we are seeing but not storing.
I emerge from a month-long holiday with the equivalent of 30 rolls of film stored in my pocket, but even as I flip through them in transit lounges and on airport trains, the memories associated with them start to flatten out and become depthless. And so I revert to what I know to be real. It could be that writing it down, being forced to describe an experience rather than show it through pre-defined, filtered optics, is the only foolproof method left.
So here is what I remember.
I remember Xenia’s meals, the flavours that leapt from my plate and knocked me for six, soundtracked by Depeche Mode; burrata, fennell, radicchio and prosciutto.
I remember Guy’s tremendous laugh, slapping the water of the pool and echoing through ancient walls of the villa.
I remember Eduardo (neé Edward), surveying the Spritz bar in the olive grove, utterly resplendent in a white linen ensemble.
I remember Fred’s fearless diving, cutting a perfect arc through the air that separated the blue sky from the turquoise sea.
I remember Angus and Alice, making out at every opportunity with the zeal of teenage paramours on a weekend away from their parents.
I remember Vaz, astoundingly being able to order twenty meals in pitch-perfect Italian that he picked up by ear.
I remember Emilie as an Impressionist painting, the donna sofisticata on her deck chair, holding a glass of rosé in the kingdom of her own making.
I remember Emma buried in a book at every opportunity, and how unsurprisingly excellent her conversation was.
I remember George’s beautiful British baritone, the way he says ‘football’ and the kindness he extended to those he’d only just met.
I remember Jack’s initial eagerness to please being completely superseded by how much of a pleasure his company was - despite his questionable cocktails.
I remember Michael’s infectious good nature, from shirtless snooker sessions to cliff-jumping while wearing sunglasses.
I remember Aidan against the setting sun, content on the forbidden rooftop, smoking a cigarette and quietly taking it all in.
I remember Olivia trying not to show how excited she was to be around both of her brothers, and then taking a thousand pictures to send to her parents.
I remember Sophia foraging for flowers, going in for another serving of cheese, announcing she was never going home.
I remember Michelle, straight off the plane and into the water, a true embodiment of the good life.
I remember Liv, looking fabulous 24 hours a day, even with no luggage, dancing to Hall and Oates in the courtyard at sundown.
I remember Andrew’s Margiela pants, his acerbic opinions, but more importantly, his 11th hour pasta special.
I remember Monty, because nobody forgets Monty.
I remember cascading classic catches, dinners in the dark, slow sunsets on the forbidden rooftop, afternoon spritzes, phantom lighters, ceaseless conversations about creativity, flower foraging, mozzarella making, cliff jumping, book reviewing, cigarette sharing, boce rambling, ravishing rosé, seafood specials, sunburned siestas.
I even remember the Wifi Password. It’s ‘TorreRuggieri1’.
I remember it all because I was there.
And so were you.