Soliloquy in an International Cloister

Watch your step as Brother Lawrence takes you inside the monastery walls of a five hundred year-old international order. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll wish you had ignored your hormones and joined the monastery.

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Location: Rome, Italy

26 August 2006

There ought to be clowns

It was one o'clock in the morning, and I was opening the door of the Roman monastery where I am staying, after having spent a wonderfully entertaining evening with my friends H and C. I turn the key in the lock, but the door doesn't open. Ah ha, the deadbolt! I put my key into the deadbolt and turn once, twice, and... end up with a stub of a key. The damn thing broke. I was now effectively locked out of the monastery. What to do? Fortunately, my friends hadn't yet driven off so I could go back and spend the night at C's apartment. I was concerned, however, that I might not make it back in time for an early morning appointment, and C was rightly worried that someone else might get locked out of the house because the rest my key was still stuck in the keyhole. Reluctantly, I rang the doorbell—half out of pity for the poor brother whose sleep I was disturbing and half out of shame for being caught out in the wee hours of the morning. I need not have worried. No one answered the bell. I tried phoning, but I could remember only the fax number. Okay, call directory assistance. They couldn't find the number. Crap, crap and triple crap. C thought the police or fire department could help us, and I remembered that the Carabinieri had an office just down the street so we drove there. Closed. The sign said to call 112 in an emergency so we did. No one answered. Driving back to the monastery, we came to a police station. Could they help me? No, they could not. Call the fire department was their advice. We had the presence of mind, however, to ask if they had a telephone directory. They did so we looked up the phone number. The policeman dialed the phone and handed it to me. No answer. Try it yourself, C said. Maybe he dialed it incorrectly. Still no answer. Okay, let's call the fire department. Apparently, they handle this sort of emergency all the time. Could they help? Yes, they could. They could break down the door for me... for a price. When I (quite unreasonably) balked at having the door broken down, they suggested I telephone the monastery. It was now two o'clock in the morning, and we had come full circle. I had resigned myself to going back to C's apartment, but she convinced me to give the doorbell one more try. After ringing three or four times, the speakerphone crackled with life, and the weary, wary voice of an angel said, "Sì, che è?" Fortunately, he believed that I was who I said I was, and opened the door for me. So, in case you weren't keeping score, I have now ruined my reputation among the brothers by staying out until an ungodly hour, ruined the reputation of my Order by admitting to all the emergency services of Rome that I was out until that hour with two beautiful women, pissed off the brother door-keeper and probably cost the monastery a €100 house call from a locksmith. Add to this, feeling like crap today because I lay awake the rest of the night practicing my apologies to all involved. Not bad for one night's work!


Blogger Sayre said...

I've done that... well, not EXACTLY that, but I did spend the night outside on the deck one night after returning home too late from a date. Dad was mad.

26 August, 2006 21:12  
Blogger Stinkypaw said...

That boats well for the rest of your time there! Have fun aned truly enjoy every moments!

26 August, 2006 22:09  
Blogger Nikki said...

I'm so glad I'm not with you. You're probably irritable and grumpy and keenly embarassed.

Join the crowd.

28 August, 2006 00:58  
Blogger heartinsanfrancisco said...

The funny story aspect will remain longer than the embarrassment.

Think of the bright side. Everyone in the monastery knows who you are now. (Or is that not a good thing?) Okay, here's another hopefully encouraging word... Everyone expects this kind of thing from Americans, and you didn't disappoint.

28 August, 2006 17:05  
Anonymous Moobs said...

They are almost certainly embroidering the story now for future generations of monks. The brother with the Stetson who arrived at 3 in the morning with poker chips tumbling from his cassock pocket and a lady on each arm.

29 August, 2006 00:08  
Blogger Br. Lawrence said...

Moobs: I like it. I may take up embroidery myself!

29 August, 2006 09:35  
Blogger princessfairytoes said...

but a least you havne't sinned properly with the ladies have fun.

29 August, 2006 18:31  
Blogger Christina_the_wench said...

Sprinkle a little holy water around. Everything will be fine.

29 August, 2006 19:46  
Blogger Dirty Birdie said...

Hey teaching beautiful young women about the redemption they can find in Jesus is a dirty job but someone has to do it. Glad you're up to the task.

30 August, 2006 00:17  
Blogger Br. Lawrence said...

Princess: I will try harder in the future to sin properly.

30 August, 2006 07:45  
Anonymous pog said...

You KNOW they were just jealous ...

30 August, 2006 10:57  
Blogger Br. Lawrence said...

All they know, Pog, was that I was out with "friends". I didn't think the matter required a full confession. If the brothers HAD seen my two friends, they would have been jealous, however. They really are very attractive. Back when I lived in Rome, I tried to convince H to pull up in front of the monastery in her convertible and blow its horn long enough to get everyones's attention. I would then come running out of the monastery, jump into her car and whip off my robes as we drove off into the the sunset. That would have given the boys something to talk about!

30 August, 2006 15:15  
Anonymous pog said...

Works for me ...

30 August, 2006 16:13  
Blogger Dirty Birdie said...

LOL - now THAT would have been priceless!

Do it! Do it! and post it so we can all enjoy.

30 August, 2006 19:17  
Anonymous Open Grove Claudia said...

What a story! Are you every going to reveal the REAL story??? lol!

I guess you should walk a little more softly since the prevailing theory is that they might keep you there...

I hope things are a wee bit better!

03 September, 2006 20:05  

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