Oh the hell with it:
In the course of writing 200 reviews of Rome one becomes exhausted from all the superlatives:
"The lavender gelato made me collapse onto the black brick streets of Rome, lying there weeping and babbling about a conversion to Catholicism"
"The swooping inlays of the marble were so exquisite that I insisted on tracking down the nearby family of the 17th Century artisan who crafted them to thank them for their ancestor."
So this morning when it came time for me to write up a new review of something in Rome I thought I might enjoy looking for something more plebeian and common. At least something calmer and less spectacular. Maybe something that I could criticize and make light of. And when my eye fell upon the store known commonly as Tiger, I knew I had found just the thing. This is a store with multiple branches, so a chain, and one that hardly even seems Italian (it's from Denmark I guess). It sells useful junk, like an upscale dollar store, as if Ikea were running it.
So I rolled up my sleeves to write my desultory review, only to realize:
I love Tiger, with a passion. It is a fantastic store, one of our favorites in Rome. Five stars!!!
Sometimes in Central Rome it can be hard to find stuff. There are little crammed hardware stores and gift stores and souvenir stores and food stores. And sometimes they all have the same things, same t-shirts, same salamis, same garish liqueurs, same exact postcards, and same papers for the same stationery. Interesting things are expensive, cheap things are cheap, and practical things can get a little tricky to track down. I'm not complaining. But Tiger is an awfully nice alternate universe. It's pretty big. Nothing in it is very far from junk, but none of it quite exactly is. And none of it is very far from dirt cheap, but none of it quite is dirt cheap, I mean, for what it is. It is full of practical things, but you could not really predict what any of those might be, and the versions of those practical things will be slightly more interesting than the normal practical thing. Those Band-Aids, for instance, or pushpins, will have a twist. The scotch tape will be blue. Of course there are scads of non practical things as well, some that might be useful, and some that surely won't, and some that will be very useful if you are just clever enough to think of something good to do with them. There are a lot of things that are like unique, inexpensive souvenirs from no specific place in the Universe.
"I went a strange store and I brought these back for you! I don't know what they are. They're from Tiger."
"Thank you. Where's Tiger?"
"It's in Rome, near the cat sanctuary, but that's not the point. It could be a store on a space station as comfortably."
I only now remember two things I got there, though there were many more. I got some blue tape and 3 mysterious balls of slime.