WANTED: Gray Haired African-American Man With Saxophone Skills

[Because it’s was my birthday, and because I’m refinishing cabinets and I started a new job, I’m recycling an oldie. If you remember this post, congratulations. You’re two years older and still like reading pointless stuff on the INTERNETS.]

I’m currently babysitting my best friend’s 6 month old.  Yes, the same best friend who pumps breast milk in my car and leaves it in my fridge, okay?  This is the first 10 minutes I’ve had all day and I find myself exhausted on the couch, drinking coffee that I poured five hours ago, and watching an Oprah special on loveless marriages.  Somehow I feel that I’ve just been given a glimpse into my life in about five fifteen twenty years.  I’m sorry, will you excuse me while I wipe the squash residue off my glasses?

Ok, I’m back. As you can deduce from its title – this blog ends with us pondering matters of Destiny, but first, it’s going to stop at the gas station and pick up some snacks while we avoid the subject.

Somewhere around 2am last night I was like, what the crap?  So I proceeded to pop in one of my all time favorite movies: Only You.  Stop scratching your head –  you’ve never seen it.  And if you have, you wrote it off within the first 5 mins or as soon as Marisa Tomei said, “He’d kill tigers for you.”  And you’d be justified. But I love it to pieces and that is just something you’ll have to live with. 

The reasons why I love this movie out number the reasons why I hate Neil Diamond. And no, it’s not just Robert Downey, Jr. speaking Italian. Or the runaway bride fiasco. Or Marisa Tomei. No, definitely not her. In fact, just ignore her the entire movie.  The main reason is because it is set in Italy, for which my obsession grew exponentially when I actually visited. Then my camera broke right in front of the Colosseum and ruined my trip.

Needless to say, I cannot express the beauty of this land. It’s magical. And I never use that gross word. Not only the scenery, but the people.  It’s a place where people actually care about something more than money.  They enjoy life.  They can’t understand you, but they’ll laugh with you and hand you some gelato.  Or a plate of pasta.  Go as quickly as you can.  It IS as beautiful as it looks. It WILL change your life.  And I PROMISE to stop talking about Italy now.

Anyway, I’ve never been a gooey person.  Shocker. I can’t even accept a compliment on my hair much less someone telling me that they can’t live without me. I hate receiving flowers or any other impractical gift that dies or has an expiration date; I would never dance in the middle of a street; I don’t want a fairytale wedding, and I certainly don’t celebrate “anniversaries,” whether they be actual legitimate yearly milestones or fake excuses to go out to eat, like, say, 7 months.

Although Only You may be a chic flick, the sheer beauty is that it actually makes fun of the concept of “destiny” and preconceived ideas that there is one true soulmate for everyone.  Because would I watch it if it didn’t?  Absolutely not.  I think when I was younger, I believed that your whole life was a search for “your other half,”  and now, I believe you could be happy with any number of people.  Just in a different way.  I’m not sure which conclusion is the right one, and I have a feeling I never will.

However, there are exceptions to every rule. 

And this is my exception:  if I should ever find myself strolling along a rainy, cobblestoney, Italian street, while being serenaded by a gray-haired African-American (note: he HAS to be African-American for this scenario to work) playing the saxophone, while talking to a charming and dangerously witty brunette who was able to quote Goethe  – I just might dance in the middle of the street.  Under the right circumstances, anything is possible.

If you’d like to witness this exact scenario, please skip ahead to 1:35.  If not, please watch the entire thing anyway. 

Only by joy and sorrow does a person know anything about themselves and their destiny.   

 – Goethe.

Wondering where I went? I have returned to blogging over at my whole foods blog Celery and the City, where we live so clean it’s like your insides took a bath.

72 thoughts on “WANTED: Gray Haired African-American Man With Saxophone Skills

  1. Hey Brit – If you’re walking the cobblestones of Italy with Essence magazine tucked under your arm, that gray haired black man’s going to expect more than a dance.

    Agree with everything you’ve said about Italy. The attitude, warmth, cuisine, and culture really leave a lot to be desired stateside. Funny you mentioned Milan. I’m psyched to be going in September. Now if only I knew more than a smattering of dialect.

    Two flies have been buzzing around this monitor for about an hour and I’m seriously about to lose my frigggin’ mind.

  2. mr. condescending – sigh. if only it were my reality. i would do anything, i repeat, anything to live there.

    mvd- hahaha. i totally forgot about that?! i wonder if i moved there if my subscription would find me? Milan was alright, but i’m more of a Tuscany kind of gal. I mean, its ALL good, but if i had to choose. Of course, venice is amazing, but there’s something about Tuscany thats just, unbelievable.

    the language barrier is rough – luckily i knew spanish so i could understand most things, but they at least work with you there. unlike freakin PARIS

  3. That was the first movie review that started out that the movie was horrible, etc., but went on to make me want to see it. You’re good.

    Now, don’t forget to check on the baby!

    • granny – i’m forreal… you see it! get past the first part and you’ll luuuurve it.

      skye- aw skye, that means the deep down there is a small, teeny part of us that is that might be, dare i say, girly?

      dearest bearman, i wouldn’t say Rome is the “height of Italy” it definitely wasn’t my favorite. Naples, is defintely the epitome of a big, crowded dirty city – but every country’s got them. And um, i’m not referring to a baby chickens here, so i will keep my CHIC and you just lose the attitude, k? 😉

  4. Aw Brit, now I want to go to Italy! As for your “I don’t like 99% of chic flicks, I hate receiving flowers or any other impractical gift that dies or has an expiration date, I would never dance in the middle of a street, I don’t want a fairytale wedding, and I certainly don’t celebrate “anniversaries,” whether they be actual legitimate yearly milestones or fake excuses to go out to eat, like, say, 7 months.” All this is true about me as well with the exception of the dancing part that is 😀 (You did say there is always an exception…lol)

  5. I have seen the heights of Italy (Rome) and the depths (Naples..yuck). Loved every minute.

    And there is nothing CHIC about a chicK flick. Please use the correct spelling going forward.

    • yorks – well, paris proposal guy was italian as well, and uh, we all know how that turned out. i don’t date them anymore.

      sarah – thanks for stopping by. Italy is like every other country. There are touristy parts that are run down and crowded, but I’d take their run down and crowded parts over the ones in america any day. Naples is known to be a no-no as far as visiting. Just because some parts may have been neglected over the years, you can’t deny the millions of amazing places that are gorgeous beyond compare – the centuries old historic buildings, the art, the vineyards, the amazing food, the wonderful people….beauty is everywhere. Florence, venice, sardinia, capri, lake como… Personally, if you don’t rent a car and drive out into the countryside and really experience Italy, then you might as well not go. I could say the same for all the cities I visited in Europe.

  6. Ok, just to throw my two cents in, Italy is gross. Rome is a dump with lots of cool stuff littered about, Naples is trash and Latina…don’t even get me started!! Things are rundown and dirty. And I did find that the people were nice, but I found that in Paris too, and they worked with me on the language barrier! I had a good experience there. So, I would trash your Italy, but the Italians have all ready done it. (p.s. my husband is Italian and his great grandparents came from Naples.

  7. I almost choked on my turkey sandwich when I saw you were babysitting. You killed my beer buzz too. Thanks.

    I love Italy more each time I visit. We (the lucky guy who married me) just went in May.

    • jill – he is, indeed, lucky. especially if you keep draggin him to italy.

      mama- don’t worry, you can’t offend me. i indeed watched this with my friends… albeit several years after it came out. but oh, so glad you share in my love for this flick. i feel that many cannot.

      jen – i SO want to go back. we should have a girly blogging trip to the italian countryside.

  8. Ha. I am old enough to know this movie and to love it. Robert and Marisa make the perfect couple. In make believe land. Whoa, I just realized that I just implied that you are old…no no no. That is not what I meant. You must have watched it with your parents, right?

    I have a heartbreaking story for you. I have a friend who has always dreamed of going to Italy with her husband, someday. She never will be able to though; she is in hospice care and you know what that means. You gave great advice…do it. Everyone. Even if you are in a sexless marriage. Oh Oprah, you never cease to entertain us.
    Ha. I just said do it and sexless marriage in the same breath. ha.

    🙂 It’s good to read ya.

  9. Must agree. I love just about everything Italian. Think I was one in a past life. Had my wedding dress copied from an Italian Vogue, took the language for years and pasta is my favorite food. Keep saying I want to go back every year. One of these days it will have to happen.

  10. gelato, vino, what’s not to love? i’m with you girl. haven’t made it through much of italy yet, just spent some time in venice and verona, but can’t wait to get back.

    • v- run as quickly as you can. do not pass go.

      mmclaughlin – oh you studied abroad there?!?! JEALOUS. i wish i would have picked that over london. but i had a pretty good time. i too, would love to be fluent! that accent is so SEXY

  11. I love Only You also!! I owned it on VHS back in the day, and bought it on DVD when my dual player crapped out on me a few years ago.

    I am also obsessed with everything Italian. I lived in Italy for 6 months studying abroad in college and one of my life goals is to become fluent in the language.

  12. I just got back from my 1st opera (Rufus Wainwright’s Prima Donna) and here u are espousing Italy’s glories. What does it all mean? That I was destined for this blog?……Well, the opera was in French, so I’ll let you decide. Ooh la la.
    Coming from one Brit 2 another on the subject of Italian experiences (getting lost in Venice on a school trip was so fun), I too would like to add that, on the whole, I can understand why so many people should be attracted to it. Especially after a Valpolichella or 5. From the stylish cut of their clothes 2 the renaissance high art and buildings, from their religious fever for football 2 the stunning rural landscapes of deep rich greens and rustic browns……whoa, whoa there pack of words. This is getting way too cliched TV holiday ad like. ‘Italy….a nation of contrasts’ Yeah, well Mr.TV ad I can only actually think of Legoland that could remotely get close 2 being anywhere near totally uniformed and I’m not even sure if that’s a country… (We called it ‘let-go’ in our fam because of the dog’s mission to chew on every last brick, it’s barely funny now and I never saw the dog laugh)
    Anyway, above all, Italy has 2 be the best shaped country on the map. I didn’t even know I cared about that type of aesthetic in countries until Italy came along in2 my head 1 day. So there! Groundbreaking – but hopefully not.
    Thanks 4 the clip. Whether it’s all very ‘dio li fa e poi li accoppia’ for some and not for others, I shall definitely light a candle for ‘Bleeding Gums Murphy’ tonight. He just loved the jazz………btw 2 all non-limeys, poms, rosbif, inselaffen etc if you too luv the jazz and just need 2 read all magazines bout it, be on ya toes if staying over here and choosing 2 go and ask 4 some jazz mags in a shop.

    • oh winston…. what can i say to all of that, except, yes… i believe you were destined for this blog. french opera? oh, that does not get the stamp of approval. i hate all things french.

      cbabin – not unless you get down on one knee, hand me a red rose with babies breath, and present me with a ring in front of some sort of fountain. after taking a horse and carriage ride.

  13. “I don’t like 99% of chic flicks, I hate receiving flowers or any other impractical gift that dies or has an expiration date, I would never dance in the middle of a street, I don’t want a fairytale wedding, and I certainly don’t celebrate “anniversaries,” whether they be actual legitimate yearly milestones or fake excuses to go out to eat, like, say, 7 months.”

    – Will you marry me?!

  14. Oh so many places to go with this one… I go with a Brit list:

    1) hahahahha. You got conned into watching someone else’s damn kid. If that doesn’t make you sterile, I don’t know what will. Your boyfriend isn’t getting laid for days… months years.

    2) I just wish there was a damn chick flick where the everything went wrong, everyone ended up disappointed, sad, or dead in the end, and the only person remotely happy in the end is the asshole who just got done cheating on his last girlfriend and found a new girlfriend completely obvious to his prior antics. THAT is a movie I’d watch. (I think that makes me a cynical bastard.)

    3) You? Not a romantic? Shocking.

    4) I’ll pass on the Italy trip, unless it’s to drive some of their amazing cars. It’s about the only useful thing they do.

    • brandon. the brit list is always the best option.

      1. she actually brought me a gift at the end of the day. i was like, gees, i don’t hate it THAT much that i require a gift. haha
      2. me too.
      3. sigh. i know, but it never hurts to reiterate it
      4. UGH. you just lost points.

      candice – please tell me you’ve been there, right? you had to of been, since your job sends you freaking everywhere you slut.

  15. i began salivating when you started discussing italy. i’ve always been more interested in greek history cuz i feel like the romans just stole all their good ideas, but damnnnnn italy is awesome.

  16. I can play the saxophone, but the only thing I know is the Oscar Mayer song. I do play it sultrily, however. It’s got a good tempo and you can dance to it (especially in the street).

    • george- well i might need to enlist your services, should i travel to italy again, accompanied by a handsome brunette.

      tim – 1. thanks. 2. YES, it would be crappy if there were only one soulmate. and I know what you mean about that volcano business, it’s defintely not an enjoyable experience. screw that. 3. on the rear view shots…. thats a good question. haha.

      linlah – AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. you know what?! in one of the six robberies i had, my passport was stolen. with all my cool stamps in it!??! so, its as if i never went. don’t get me started. but trust me, you DO want italy to be your first adventure. you will NOT regret it my dear

  17. Great post! I LOVE it when you get POIGNANT and stuff (WITH the humor, of course). Wouldn’t it be crappy if there WAS only one soulmate for each of us, and he/she was in Northern Borneo hanging out with the baboons and you’d never be able to find him/her/it? Think of all the lonely people in the world…That’s why it’s so stupid to go jump into a volcano just because ONE person told you to go take a flying F*** at a rolling doughnut! (I’ve tried that–it’s difficult.)
    P.S. Why are those rear-view shots of you so captivating?

  18. hhahahahahahahahahahahah i just laughed myself into a coma

    no, never been. 🙁 my work has an office in spain though. sometimes my co-workers with sexy names like “francesco” emails me, and i consider asking for a transfer.

  19. i’m definitely planning on going back – hopefully soon…but my friend i stayed with there is moving back to the states next month. bummer. way more fun when you have money to splurge on shoes and food and wine.

  20. You are a hopeless romantic. And you make me laugh each and every time I read your blog. No I am not bitter you were gone..I will wait…reading this is like reading a great book in a cozy chair…thanks Zman sends

  21. v – that sucks!!!! lodging is a big part of the expense over there, especially with the dollar devalued so much. boo…

    steve – you are so sweet!!! thank you. you always encourage me and give me a reason to go on.. haha

  22. Have fun babysitting. It’s amazing to me how kids have so much energy and can just keep going. It reminds me of Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Kindergarten Cop” where he says, “Leave me alone” as he lies defeated on the bed. LOL.

    And the video clip – a classic.

  23. I’d have to say a very very teeny tiny part, Brit! After all, look at my hairdo and tell me too many other’s of the female persuasion prefer to be bald as opposed to have hair to spend hours and hours on…lol. Hmmmm, let’s see, me and girly, I don’t do hair, nails or make-up. Dresses, nope again not my thing, I much prefer jeans or shorts and a t-shirt. Enjoy handling snakes, spiders, frogs, salimandars and other creepy crawly things, yep! Oh, sorry we’re trying to find girly things about me, um, um, um, dammit, I can’t think of anything! Well, I do enjoy dancing, not ballroom or ballet or anything like that though, the absolute best is when there’s a nice warm summer rain, I do enjoy dancng out in that! 😀

    • skye – i would absolutely love to be able to rock the short haircut. but my face it way too round and i look like a freak. but boy, it would be so much nicer in this friggen scorching weather. my hair is like a big black thermal blanket.

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  27. Okay, this is just too too weird (and I swear I’m telling you the truth), Only You is perhaps one of my all-time favorite flicks! OMG….I honestly didn’t think anyone in world even saw it, bedsides me.

    I’m a HUGE Marisa Tomaei fan, so anything she’s in…I’ll watch.

    I’ve never been to Italy, but everything you described it to be, I’ve imagined that’s what it is.

    ” now, I believe you could be happy with any number of people. Just in a different way.”

    I agree!

    I believe that some people do find their soulmates in this lifetime, however not everyone. My grandmother and grandfather are the pefect example. They truly were soulmates.

    Great photo of you, girl!

    Ciao, bella!


    • um, ron how am i NOT surprised.. seriously that is my GO TO movie whenever i’m sad, upset, happy whatever! I never get sick of it no matter how cheesy it is. In fact, i try to eat cheese while I watch it.

      ugh, we need to go to italy together. can you even IMAGINE the fun we’d have

  28. Oh, Italy! Be still my heart. We visited 6 years ago and my soul still yearns to be back there.

    I’m with you on the gooey thing. Problem is, I actually WANT to be a gooey person, I just can’t do it!

  29. Love that movie. I used to make my little sister watch it so I could drool over Robert. We’re on a first-name basis. I might have to get that on Netflix this week since I’ll be sans man-who-will-undoubtedly-ruin-this-movie-for-me.

    And I feel the same way — When people ask me about soul mates, or whether they think I married my soul mate, I always say I believe many different people can make us happy in many different ways. I think I have a lot of soul mates.

  30. Every year I keep telling my husband that we are going back to Tuscany. Every year he agrees and then we don’t do it. Kind of like us getting to Maine, don’t even ask about that one. Anyway, I have an obsession with Italy as well. Studied Italian for years along with Renaissance art in college (lovely but provided no practical skills in getting a real job.)
    Maybe next year…
    Oh, and I just looked at your photography website again. Your photos are so fabulous. You are going to have to get to one of those horse shows with me. Start working on a reliable mode of transportation.

    • Dude, Tuscany was my fav place hands down!

      except now i’m deathly afraid of flying even more than i was back then. so….. i really wanted to elope in italy to be honest. and yes, we’ll snap some pics of wayne sooner or later!

  31. If I was a gray-haired African-American man playing the saxophone and saw that picture of you in Rome and then read this post, I would throw myself at your feet. As it is, I only saw that picture of you in Rome and read this post, so I’m disqualified, which is probably for the best. I’m not a gooey person.

    The movie “Once” does the same thing for me that “Only You” does for you. The soundtrack alone makes me feel strangely…well, feel anything. I dig it at times.

    Anyway, great rerun! Be sure to open windows to ventilate while refinishing cabinets. If you forget, then write a great post while you’re high on the fumes.

      • dude, i was trying to figure out who was hitting on me so blatently. anyway! I love ONCE, it’s equally as good, except loses points cus it’s not in Italy.

        Ya for non-gooey people. I think it’s safe to say that’s the case for most my readers.

  32. Yup, anything can happen in the right setting. If you mix all the ingredients in just the right amounts and if the Moon is in the correct phase, you will end up with a surprising version of You.
    I also love Italy. We honeymooned in Venice, and I’ve been to Milan (didn’t like it) and Rome (loved it) and I’ve got a trip to Tuscany on my Places-To-See list.
    Have a good weekend, doll!

  33. Oh my god…..you really are lazy….
    You know….I wake up every day and try as I may can’t think of a damn thing to post. But at least I manage to fill in the long gaps with lame poetry, tedious memes and crafty crap.
    Is reposting an old post to the top of your blog, ethical?
    No? Yeah…I thought not.
    Well, at least I can now sleep better knowing I’m not the only one who has done it.
    Hope you’re having a beautiful weekend….

  34. I loved Italy when I went, and want to go back so badly, but I suspect I’ll have to wait a long, long time for that. . . but I gotta be honest – I could not get through that video clip! I hope this doesn’t end our relationship.

  35. Someone showed me photos of Rome when she was living there a couple years ago and they literally blew me away! I figured that it would be like every other overcrowded, dirty, huge metropolis, but it looked so beautiful!

    If Rome is anywhere as nice as those photos, I am definitely going to have to visit!

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