When I was in my early twenties and living in Rome, a friend of mine there said something I never forgot. Mauro, who I only knew for that brief year, took us to his favorite little-known bars and cafés where we ate fried squash blossoms stuffed with fish. He showed us the best nightclubs on the river and embodied for us the Roman stereotype of pride, pleasure, indulgence and yes, laziness. He explained to me once, in a reassuring tone, that Romans had done their work 2000 years ago. They had built civilization and now it was their birthright to sit back, relax and charge admission to see the ruins of their fallen empire while they enjoyed the leisure their ancestors had earned for them. He must have seen on my face that I was grappling with this idea because he interrupted himself to say in his thick accent “don’t worry Klea, someday you too will be able to sell tickets to see the ruins of America”. Sage advice from an ancient empire to a modern one.