EDITOR’S COLUMN | Ready for Whidbey and the Northwest

It’s nice to be back, really. I get pretty sick of the ole “Whidbey is so great” platitudes. They’re tiresomely common on the South End, but in this case I truly mean it.

There really is no place like home.

I’ve been away on vacation the past two weeks on a grand tour of Italy. Rome, Venice, Florence — I saw them all. I wandered the colosseum, hefted the Leaning Tower of Pisa, rode a bullet train, jogged across the Rialto Bridge and swam in the Mediterranean. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t fall in love with Italy, at least a little bit, but it’s not Whidbey.

True, Italy is rich in human history, particularly architecture. And there’s no substitute for seeing in person structures only previously seen in books or on the Internet.

But the country is hot. Really hot. Like in the 90s hot. To make matters worse the gods, Italy’s government, or both seem to have outlawed any form of breeze. All heat, no wind, end of discussion.

That’s likely why not a single dryer can be found anywhere in the country. Washing machines, sure. But the stereotypical image of clothes drying on a line between buildings in a dense Italian city is no fable. It’s reality.

To say we all breathed a sigh of relief when we stepped outside at SeaTac after two weeks of oven-like temperatures is something of an understatement.

Another curiosity is the country’s strange fascination with small vehicles. That includes motorcycles and mopeds. Big trucks, or anything that doesn’t get a bazillion miles to the gallon, are as rare as American coffee; Europe’s morning beverage is a type of mud known as espresso. We have the Big Gulp, they have the little sip. It does grow on you, though I can’t really say why.

Anyway, most of the cars we saw could fit in the bed of any large American pickup. And all the vehicles seem to operate on diesel.

Italians are also fanatical when it comes to recycling, even by Whidbey standards. It wasn’t just the people but the government’s dedication as well. Approach what appears to be row of five public trash cans on any given city block and four are dedicated to various recyclables. Only one is for actual garbage.

If you ask me, they’re going a little overboard with all that take care of the planet/pollution is bad/global warming stuff. Losers, believing all that science mumbo jumbo.

It’s like I told that teachin lady, “The only three letters I need to know are ‘U,’ ‘S’ and ‘A.’”

So while Italy has some things going for it, we all were eager to get back home to tolerable temperatures, a green landscape and Puget Sound, arguably one of the world’s greatest treasures. I missed the first two weeks of crab season, and I’m eager to build up my stocks of smoked salmon. Travelling abroad is fun, and worth a couple years of debt, but I’m ready for Whidbey and the Northwest.

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