Here, Outside the Vatican


A house is being built across the street.  They’ve been at it since last May, and to say it’s loud here for 8 hours a day, including some weekends, would be an understatement.  This morning they’re sawing stone.  They’ve been sawing stone for weeks now, months maybe, for my entire life!, and while the workmanship of said stone is spectacular and the dozens of workers are certainly skilled artisans, the noise is wearing me down.  Until recently, all of the stone has been attached to the house in some way (front walkway, chimney, etc…) but now a massive wall is going up and, as I’m determined to keep my sense of humor, I’ve taken to referring to my house as Rome, and to calling it — this giant house with it’s giant stone wall — The Vatican.

In this morning’s news, I see all the Cardinals from around the world have finally arrived at the real Vatican to get ready for the conclave.  Since the Pope decided to retire, the Vatican and its goings-on have been top of the news everyday, its even front page news at The New York Times.  I wonder what other religions think of this, of all this press, of the constant photos of the gathering Cardinals in their red caps, because certainly none of those other religions garner this kind of press coverage.

As for me, I keep wondering why they can’t vote from afar, of the cost of flying in all those Cardinals, of the untold amount of work and particular preparations, of the special stove they’ve installed just for this one event, for smoke signals, of the complex apparatus they’re building inside the chapel to keep from being eavesdropped on, of the abuse cases in the wings, of tradition and majesty and men in power.  Of the Vatican wall.

They’re building a giant stone wall across the street.  I hope they’re finished soon.  I don’t know how much longer I can take the noise.  When it’s finished I know I’ll forget about what’s been bugging me, that even though I’m on the outside of the wall I’ll admire the beauty of the stone and remember the workers who built it.  If you look closely at the right side of the photo, you can see a stovepipe rising.  I hope it’s for more than blowing smoke.  I hope it’s a pizza oven.

17 thoughts on “Here, Outside the Vatican

  1. Josey

    being one of the wealthiest…conglomerations? (what would you call the catholic church…corporation?) i’m sure a few business interests want all the news buzz they can get on this whole pope thing. they’re about the elect the next leaders of a bunch of fucking money. thus the ability to fly them all in. and the robes. and the head pieces. and the art. and the ornate churches.

    my grandmother was a devout, devout, cry when the last pope died catholic. as the executors of her estate, we now get all her mail. i’ve gotten a close up and personal look at the catholic church’s money-raising skill set. most recently we got an offer for a piece of wood from st. anthony’s. she gets no less than ten pieces of this kind of mail a day. because they work.


    sorry about all the noise. at least now you have a new metaphor, “blank sounded like she was trying to cut a stone in half.”

    i would like to mention that it’s 2:57 pm on friday and i’m in a coffee shop working on my author bio for my new job. for the next nine days, i will be happily unemployed.

    1. Teri Post author

      Well first, let me congratulate you for being FINISHED WITH THAT PLACE! I’m so happy you’re out of there. And of course I selfishly wish I were there having coffee with you!!

      What struck me most when I toured the Vatican was the unbelievable amount of wealth. Of enormous halls crammed (literally, crammed) full of art because there’s so much valuable and historically significant art they can’t even display it all.

      And then there’s the just-retired-pope’s new retirement home and that vow of poverty and and and and and.

      1. Josey

        obviously, there’s a smidge of difference between getting to take a “vow of poverty” versus being born into it. also, i’m sure having so much wealth tends to skew the idea of what poverty actually is.

  2. Jennine G.

    Well Rome wasn’t built in a day ya know! 😉

    Not being Catholic, every time I hear conclave I can’t think of anything but DaVinci Code.

    1. Teri Post author

      Rome is a quiet place around here. I hope the new Vatican across the street finds its quiet soon.

  3. macdougalstreetbaby

    That’s some gorgeous stone. Let’s all hope it’s for a pizza oven! Sunday dinners just got a whole lot tastier!

    1. Teri

      You should see the stone on the house. It’s truly gorgeous. But my god already, enough. I see the owner occasionally, wandering around the worksite, and keep hoping he’ll come over and introduce himself. No such luck. Looks like I might I have to make the first move. I want peace with the Vatican.

  4. Averil Dean

    It’s horribly naive of me, but I’m actually shocked at how much press the Pope’s retirement has gotten. Modern Catholics rarely seem to pay attention to the church’s guidance on social issues, so why does it matter who wears the pointy hat?

    If you learned to make fresh mozzarella, you’d probably score an invite to the Vatican.

    1. Teri

      Every single day, top of the news. This makes no sense to me. Unless, of course, you go with the overall life theory that everything follows the money. And we know where all the money is.

  5. Erika Marks

    Oy vey…

    Teri, I’m sure I’ve shared my obsession with tiny houses at some point and boy, here we have Exhibit A. I took live in the land of the huge houses (many of which are not occupied year-round) and the volume of them startles me daily. What I also find so amazing is that many of them have little to no yard! A sprawling 5 bed, 4 bath house and a short hill in the back? Me, I’d sooner have the tiny place and leave most of my footprint for a yard. But then, I know I’m preaching to the choir here. (Pun intended, of course.)

    Give me one of these ANY day:

  6. Catherine

    Poor you! We have roadworks over the hill and when the wind is coming our way.. We also have a great trattoria not far off which sends tempting grilling smells around lunchtime some days.

    As for the Pope circus, can you imagine what it’s like here? The new Pope sounds just like my piano maestro!

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