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Friday update: Roamin' charges

Posted by Robin Abrahams  October 4, 2013 04:02 PM

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Rome is a truly magnificent city. We'd never seen anything like it, and hope very much to return for a proper visit someday--we only had one real day in the city together this time. Most of our trip was spent in Perugia, a small town in the Umbrian region. Perugia is on a hill, with a driverless Minimetro that goes up, flips around on a turntable, and goes back down again.

In Rome, tour guides at the Coliseum wear centurion outfits, and they all hang out talking on their smart phones on breaks. It's a wonderful sight. We had been told that this time of year is slow, tourist-wise, and if that's the case I'd never want to be there during high tide.

I didn't get to read Between Man and Beast on the trip, because my Kindle was being all 50 shades of graybar, which was annoying. I did devour Doctor Sleep, Stephen King's smart, fast-moving, warm-hearted sequel to The Shining. And on the flight over, I noshed on pretzels and re-watched "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," another poignant piece of genre fiction, on my small personalized screen:

It's also, once you get past the science fiction and special effects, a fairly poignant look at life in the sandwich generation ... Will is pressed from every direction, and criticized no matter what he does. Look at James Franco's face when the home-health aide angrily tells him his father should be in a facility. When the veterinarian points out that Caesar won't stay a juvenile forever. He knows. He is doing his damnedest as a caretaker, and he knows he is failing. He's not the son, the father, the lover, the scientist he wants to be. Every choice entails a sacrifice -- not only the big choices, like "do I inject my father with the experimental drug," but the little ones, like "do I look my lover in the eye when she is talking, or do I scan the room to make sure Dad and Caesar aren't in trouble?" And he makes wrong choices, and decisions with all kinds of unintended consequences.

(Read the whole thing here).

And now we're back, in this angry dysfunctional country. 

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About Miss Conduct
Welcome to Miss Conduct’s blog, a place where the popular Boston Globe Magazine columnist Robin Abrahams and her readers share etiquette tips, unravel social conundrums, and gossip about social behavior in pop culture and the news. Have a question of your own? Ask Robin using this form or by emailing her at

Who is Miss Conduct?

Robin Abrahamswrites the weekly "Miss Conduct" column for The Boston Globe Magazine and is the author of Miss Conduct's Mind over Manners. Robin has a PhD in psychology from Boston University and also works as a research associate at Harvard Business School. Her column is informed by her experience as a theater publicist, organizational-change communications manager, editor, stand-up comedian, and professor of psychology and English. She lives in Cambridge with her husband Marc Abrahams, the founder of the Ig Nobel Prizes, and their socially challenged but charismatic dog, Milo.

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