THE VENETIAN CHRONICLES PART IV

 

UNDER THE WEATHER

 

 

There is weather and then there is weather. I was woken up in the middle of the night by lightning that pierced through the shutters, followed by  powerful thunder. It was nice to be under the covers and reminisce about my childhood when thunderstorms were commonplace all through the Summer. You would get a respite from the heat and be grateful to be tucked in the house for a day or just a few hours.

I could still hear the rain pelting the roof when I woke up and the only reasons I decided to put my feet on the wooden floor  were that I had to take my mother to the train station and my stomach called for the amazing jam croissant I have been buying  every morning from the bar at the Zattere. It’s not cold so, for me, who hail from LA where rain is scarce and thunderstorms non-existent, it’s not unpleasant to walk in the pioggia for a change. But at 11, right when we were supposed to leave for the station, the rain became sheets of water dropping from a leaden and merciless sky. I am trying to be blase about it while I buy the tickets to the vaporetto and both my umbrella and my 100 euro banknote blow away (both recovered..)and while I stand on the stairs of the boat getting wetter by the minute while passengers go in and out at their stops.

On my way back, I decide I am not willing to pay the outrageous ticket price for a vaporetto back and brave the elements, walking from the station through Santa Croce, San Polo and, finally, Dorsoduro.

The rain refuses to stop – it will drizzle for a few minutes before another squall comes through with all its accoutrements and an Indian style downpour. Inside my flat, where water comes in through the bathroom window and my shoes will probably never dry up, it’s actually beautiful to watch the elements go wild – after the miles of walking I have been clocking, I don’t mind enjoying this for a day.

But I do hope I will get to wear my pink paisley wellies that I snapped up for $25 euros in a store so small I thought the centenarian lady inside would suffocate amongst the mountains of merchandise. She was so old she couldn’t even assist me and I had to dig through piles of bags to find my size – but what a reward! my wellies looks so snazzy it would be a crime not to take them for a spin. Maybe after dinner….it doesn’t feel threatening in any way to walk around in the dead of night here. Ghosts of centuries past come alive and walk alongside you, their faces covered by their masks, merrily sauntering to the Ridotto (the ancient casino) for a night of debauchery and fun.

My favourite mask is the plague doctor’s, usually white and birdlike with a long hooked beak  in place of a nose. The doctor attending to the plague patients would stuff it with rags imbibed in unguents that supposedly staved off the plague. Not effective but extremely stylish and useful to keep hugs and kisses at bay.

I realize I have been away from this country too long when I lean over to kiss someone and I stop at cheek number 1 while the other person turns cheek number 2 as well. Looking out the window - Biennale 2009Has the time come for a prodigal return??

 

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