A part of me had hoped I was heading for some kind of brainwashing sex cult (can you guess which part?), but instead I find myself entering a religious community run by monks and nuns in the hills of Varese Ligure near the sleepy town Cembrano –North West Italy- the day after Bosnia.
I accept an invitation to meditate with what seems like about fifty hippies but now I can’t remember if they said half an hour or half a day. My shorts are still wet from washing in the river and as I sit in my puddle watching the silence of meditation turn into some kind of Buddhist chant, I quietly reflect on how fucking weird this is.
Maybe I’m just tired but this grumpy old dick sharing my rooms pissing me off already. Maybe it’s the voice of God whispering in my ear that knocking out an old hippy in a religious community on my first night might just be a new low. We’ll just see how this goes.
After last meditation no one is allowed to talk until after first meditation the next day. As much as I respect peoples beliefs and all.. I just don’t get it. Reflect on what? How bad the world is? Clear your mind, why? I personally enjoy thinking stuff and right now I’m thinking Get A Grip. When I first heard we would meditate four times a day I thought someone said masterb… Never mind.
A few real hotties around here including one Costa Rican girl from San Isidro (my home for ten months) who says she might have been in the bull festival at the same time as me. What are the chances of that? As I work alongside her, my Turkish mate Timone and one crackingly gorgeous blond girl, I pick up on only two things as they converse in Italian. The words Horney and Doggy style! What am I missing here? And from the mouths of hippies too.
ANDYS WORLD: Rule 101
Hippies don’t have sex. They smear their bodily fluids onto trees which they rub against through pours on their skin for other hippies to follow suit and immaculately impregnate. –If my use of English seems bad here it’s because you can go fuck yourself-. This is where the terms ‘tree hugger’ and my personal favourite ‘hippy wankstain’ derive.
The mating calls of kumbaya and hallelujah can be heard for miles and if witnessed will commonly be accompanied by bongo drums and flower decorated acoustic guitars. In comparison, one of my guitars reads ‘I used to fuck people like you in prison’ there for making me not a hippie wankstain.
This noise alerts fellow ‘singing benders’ to their whereabouts so they may discuss flower power and saving stupid dolphins. All hippies are A-sexual allowing them to spread like a fucking virus and thus also being the reason why they all act like a bunch of girls.
Not everyone’s a hippy though and I spend most of my time splashing around in one of two lagoons nearby with some cool guys listening to Lordi and Metallica after yet another scorching day building a large fence to keep the heathens out. Or maybe just the wild boars.
We’re approached by one gun totting Forest Police officer pissed with us for chopping down a tree without permission. Head monk to the rescue and as we listen to the increasingly loud exchange of rants and yells, we wait for either a gunshot or a bolt of lightning but, alas, nothing. Maybe it’s God again coming down and this time telling that big, bad policeman to go away.
. . .
Sitting on the backend of a tractor with my feet up hitching a ride along with Pasqualino in the shit-scooper (?), dreaming away about nothing in particular, maybe thinking of beer and nuns when suddenly the leaver holding us to the tractor gives way and we’re thrown down hard on our asses into the middle of the road. “What the fuck”?! Like something from a comedy movie we remain seated on the road scratching our heads in bemusement wondering what just happened.
This guy Pasqualino is a living legend though. About fifty years old with a vodka roughened cackle of a laugh any and every time someone fucks up. When I burnt my hand, when we fell out of a moving tractor and when Walter smacked his shin with a sledge hammer he damned well nearly shit himself laughing. And so it felt only appropriate to laugh my ass off when he electrocuted himself and when my shit directions led our crappy car into a ditch and then just about being rolled upside down when our favourite tractor came to toe us.
. . .
As the mayhem of lunch begins to simmer down a little it would appear that it’s now my turn to tell a joke. Someone always stands up to tell a story, joke or even a song where at one point we had a professional opera singer do an impressive Pavarotti number. I try to think of a nice, friendly one that can appeal to everyone, but they want it now and can’t wait a moment longer.. and so..
It was the cleanest one I could think of. The other involved a bus full of nuns dying in a bus accident, but I guess that might not seem appropriate with such company. Instead I dish out a joke involving Protestant’s shitting in Catholic shoes and Catholics pissing in Protestants Bovril (beef soup). After the pause where I wait for my joke to finish being translated I find that it’s went down better than I expected but please, please don’t rush me into another!
Just by the doorway a little commotion is being translated to me by one of our nuns and it seems the people from our local village reckon we’re harbouring someone with drug issues. I have no idea why they’re here or what they plan to do about it but as I look around the room I’m quickly drawn to the conclusion that this ‘someone’ could only be me. I’ve been clean for years so fuck you!
Another lunch comes to an end and I find myself boxed in at the dinner table with nowhere to go.
“Why don’t you meditate”?
Why don’t you fuck off?
“You should try it again. We can show you how. It’s so good to clear your mind. And why do you travel so much? What are you running away from”?
Don’t give me that shit. You live on a fucking religious RETREAT!
You don’t eat meat and I don’t meditate. Difference being that meat is something I can taste, touch, smell, see and even hear while it’s cooking making it an actual physical object. With that in mind I know I could physically shove it down your throat. I should only have to tell you once that I’m not interested in meditation/religion and we can leave it at that otherwise you will wake one God blessed morning with my ‘meat’ slapping between your rosy cheeks!
Lent comes to an end and we venture further up the mountain to feast on pizza and pasta like there’s no tomorrow. Once all the foods demolished they leave the table to form a circle and hold hands.
Oh fuck no.
“What’s going on”?
We’re going to do something the Knights Templar used to do after battle.
Turns out that the Knights Templar were a bunch of raving pussies.
Every country has a history of conflict and heroic warriors such as the Maori, Samurai, Zulu or Spartans but none of them pranced around hand in hand curtseying one another like a bunch of singing benders did they? No, they did not.
I can just see it now after a successful night op in Afghanistan from which the SAS have taken out their target and returned to camp unscathed and unmoved from the recent assault unleashed upon what was once a formidable enemy compound. “Right lads. Before we break up lets form a circle, hold hands and prance about like a squad of daisy queens”!
Finally I manage to escape and get some time to myself in La Spezia, the nearest city to the farm we’re in. A day to spend drinking beer, eating meat, using internet and drooling over the many Italian hotties during this fine summer’s day. I miss my last bus home unfortunately and send an email letting my favourite nun know roughly where I am and what’s happening. Her reply reads; Can you not phone us and come back tonight? A group of us are going out tonight.
To do what? Hold hands, sing and eat fucking rabbit food. I think I’ll pass. In fact, I think I’ll get a nice hotel room for the night and meditate. I’m going to meditate so long and so hard that parts of my being might actually fall off and I’m going to think of you while I’m doing it. Oh shit. I mean masterb..
. . .