High Maintenance

Have you ever been out on a date, or something that may resemble one?

1. you were specifically invited to do something that had a meeting time
2. you both stumbled around when the conto arrived
3. a surprise kiss attempt

Often times, there is a fourth requirement which is simply the sentence:

"Do you consider yourself high maintenance?"

high-maintenance, adjective
definiton: requiring excessive attention: requiring an excessive amount of attention or effort to maintain

I am not sure if every other woman (or man) is asked this question or if it just me. And as you may expect, my answer is always "yes". There was a time when I would have been offended at that question and would have vehemently denied any such insinuation, but several events in the past week have caused me to reconsider.

The other day I walked out of the house with 2 euro 50 and my dog's leash. No dog, no keys, no phone. I ran to Fabio to ask if I could use his phone.

"Ma di nuovo?? Perche non lasci le chiave qui come mi hai detto 2 giorni fa quando l'hai fatto la stessa cosa"
Again, little imp, why don't you just leave the keys here like you told me 2 days ago when you locked yourself out...

High Maintenance Ranking: 10
HM Solution: now both cousins, uncle and Fabio have sets of keys, along with appropriate contact information. They are always on alert when I walk out of the house.

Rule of thumb: always look good when flying anywhere, and more importantly, its always best to be well fed.

The Look: Fitted nerd blouse, fitted skirt, knee-high fitted boots
The Food: Crudo and mozzarella panino, in purse

Last time I walked through security at Ciampino, I was told to hold my hands up high. I am not sure if it was the elevation of my arms that caused the invisible zipper on my skirt to spontaneous rip apart or if the skirt was just too fitted. In any case, I naively thought the nods of approval from my favorite carabinieri were due to overall good fashion sense and not the view of my underwear. I grabbed my coat and began to walk away when the main k-rab told me to stop:

"C'e un panino nella sua borsa?"
Is that a panino in your purse?

"Si. Crudo e mozzarella."
Yes, it is.

"Lei deve mangiarlo qui."
You must eat it here.

"Si, lo so. Stavo per mangiarlo all'imbarco."
Yes, I know. I was about to eat it at the gate. Oh wait, you want me to eat it right here in front of security to prove that it is not loaded with C4 or some other terrorist cruelty....

So I sat down on the table and ate the panino in front of the k-rabs when I felt a chill on my hip and noticed the open zipper. Yes, it was Paris Hilton hot-- me, my panino and a nice shot of my underwear seated on the security table.

High Maintenance Ranking: 7
HM Solution: I used my MacGyver (see 1990s television re-runs) sensibilities and stitched my skirt together with some eye-liner, my cellphone ear piece and a gold hoop earring. Not true-- I just tied my jacket around my waist and froze to death on the 2 1/2 hour flight.

Bonus Points: Explaining to Italian Passport Control why my passport has a big VOID stamp (misplaced it three times, was given the temporary passport that was then extended, hence page 23), and then answering "I am an international escort" when asked why there are no more empty pages in my passport.

A coy roll-over on my left side and my belly button ring was caught in a belt buckle. Yes, I have a piercing and yes, it hurt like hell.

High Maintenance Ranking: 2 (for the 1990 vanity pierce)
HM Solution: Had I lost the lapis ball that held the ring together, I was considering having the naive victim buy a diamond as replacement.

If you are high maintenance like me, might I suggest the following:

Fabio, king of replacing zippers- white skirt, blue skirt, fitted skirt and 2 sundresses (August, September, October)
via dei Banchi Vecchi, 17
I've mentioned him before. He is good but can be pricey. You have to talk the talk.

US Embassy
Quick turn-around for lost passports and insertion of extra pages
Via Veneto 121

Tel: +39(06)4674 2461
Fax:+39(06)4676 2244

Hours 8:30 to 12:30 Monday through Friday.

The service is free of charge and it's done while you wait.