Wednesday, 24 August 2011
Last night, I dreamt that I was at a carnival in Rome with my work crew (so non-Catholics, with the exception of G).
Rome was bright, sunny and warm - and in the dream, completely divided by the Tiber. No bridges across from one side to the other; the only way across was by ferry, which didn't run very often, and if you missed it, you were out of luck. We were on the higher side with a better view, but there was a catch to that: you couldn't leave the city. The high road was a dead end, and to leave, you had to take the ferry across to the lower end and proceed to the exit.
The carnival was unsettling - I had the sense it had a Catholic theme, e.g., Mardi Gras (but wasn't). It *appeared* normal, with the colourful masks and costumes, but it *felt* wrong. I expected Pennywise the Clown to appear at any moment, but seemed to be the only one feeling uneasy. We picnicked along the Tiber, wandered, everyone else seemed happy, whilst I felt vigilant. [This is an early analysis, but I suspect part of the unsettledness was that this was somewhere I'd expect my close Catholic/clerical friends to be, and if they were at all, we were separated and unable to reach each other.]
The carnival ended, and I pushed for us to leave sooner rather than later, sensing something wasn't right. People dithered a bit, but in time to make the last ferry - just.
If, that is, it hadn't gotten stuck in the middle of the river under an old (unsafe) bridge.
There was a rope hanging just within reach, so I grabbed it to see if I could swing to the ferry and work out what to do from there. No go, it was just short, so back to the bank, standing in the shadow with my work colleagues to think.
We went back to a house we'd been using, and the librarian and his wife, who'd taken an earlier ferry over and back to buy things, popped round. I asked, 'Why didn't you just GO? Why did you come back here?'
I decided we were going to walk up the road and see what we could do - I knew cars got across somehow, through police manned, alarmed barriers, and I was going to argue our right to walk through them and get out, because of the ferry mishap. We headed off with me in the lead, arguing with police - who, interestingly, were dressed as Swiss guards - and they simply replied, 'Rules are rules.'
My response? "!@£$%^&*()(*&^%$£ statutory law v case law. Circumstances MATTER."
I tried to sneak through an alarmed barrier, as all my work peops shouted, 'IRIM!' in horror. I came back through and we ended up in the little guardhouse, where I took charge and spoke Spanish whilst they spoke Italian, so we understood each other, mostly.
Finally, at the end of my wits, I begged them to open up and allow people off 'Por Dios!' and then 'Por Roma!' - neither of which garnered much of a reaction. But then I remembered the most basic tenet of the faith I follow:
How do you get through to a Catholic male?
'POR *LA MADRE* DE DIOS!'
That got a reaction, as I looked out the window and saw swarms of Catholics moving up towards the barriers, some looking like zombies, others looking as if they were waking from a long dream.
Then, I knew. And I turned to them and said, with all the certainty of Teiresias or Cassandra:
"The people are coming. If I were you, I would move. NOW."