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Friday night's pizza

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Picture a large group of dead runners - many from North America, a few from Italy and one from Denmark - walking a mile from the Boston Hotel to Pizzeria Augusto, in the center of Turin. The merry group is met at the start by an even merrier individual who's driving his car in the opposite direction. It's Gerardo Langone, a dead runner from the hot-blooded region of Romagna. He's practicing the art of driving with the right hand while sticking his left hand and face out of the window, his hand to wave and his face to beam in recognition of the group of dead runners. He's not going to be with us tonight at the pizzeria: he's taking his beloved Nicoletta to a romantic restaurant, where they're going to have an intimate candlelight dinner. How do we know all that? More later.

The pizzeria has a long U-shaped table for the deads. We all sit down and start to chat. Our foreign friends soon learn how to carry a conversation with Italians at a restaurant: talk in unison raising your voice to make yours heard and accompany your words with effective gestures that make the words useless. George and Rita observe that a typical Italian gesture is also typically Hawaiian. Tangential thoughts about Venetian merchants reaching the shores of Hawaii before Columbus left Genova.

Choosing a pizza in Italy involves serious reading and translating. So we ask the waiter to bring a variety of large pizzas and to keep in mind we have a few vegetarians with us. Mac Pagliotz adds that pizzas must be coming in "like rainfall". Jeff Marker agrees.

Postcard-writing ceremony. The lives and secrets of most recipients are quickly revealed to all attendees, and writing becomes spontaneous as a result.

The evening ends with a disorderly walk back to the hotel. Gerardo and Nicoletta quickly learn it was a good idea to ask Giorgio about romantic restaurants when five or six dead runners of different nationalities barge in and brighten their lonely dinner with their presence.

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