I’ve lately been in touch with a couple I’ve known for ages, going back to the mid ’70s. The guy is a serious Movie Catholic who used to run a repertory cinema and in fact hired me as a projectionist in ’80 or ’81. A lot of frolic back then, and even some perversity. We used to score quaaludes together at the old Edlich Pharmacy on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Anyway we were talking on the phone and they said they’re planning a trip to Italy in September but within budgetary limits. I naturally volunteered my usual-usual about the difference between tourists and travellers (I belong to the latter group) and how nobody stays in hotels any more with all of the glorious (and delightfully less expensive) Airbnb options available and how only dinosaurs consult with travel agents about where to stay.
Well, it pains me to say this but my old friends are evolving into dinosaur-hood. Their choice and their money, of course, but they’re firmly committed to avoiding Airbnb rentals due to fear of “issues.” I assured them that these presumptions are wives tales but they won’t budge. They’ll almost certainly be paying 30% or 40% more by staying in hotels (not to mention mimicking the typical tourist lifestyle) but to each his own. But I thought it might be nice to join them in Venice and so as a last-ditch effort I told them about a two-story loft where I stayed with Dylan in late May 2014, a place owned by a classy lady named Federica Centulani. I sent them a video of the place. [See above.] I explained that if we split the $150 per day rent at Federica’s it would only be $75 each. And they still won’t budge.
It’s not because they’d rather not see me or briefly share a roof because they’ve invited me to stay their place in North Carolina next year. It’s because they’re getting fucking old.
To me this creeping doddering mentality is akin to leprosy. I don’t want to sound like a judgmental prick but this kind of thing cuts right to the core of the values I cherish and live by. As cold as this sounds I’m thinking I’d rather not maintain friendships with people who are starting to slide into old fartitude. I saw it begin to happen with my parents when they hit their 60s and it’s the beginning of the end. It’s a disease. Either you understand this or you don’t.
Update: They’re staying in a “Superior” room at the Ca Dei Conti in the tourist-swamped San Marco district. Tab for three nights: $1450 euros. Brilliant.