I try to be kind, I really do. Too often only in a passive ‘ doasyouwouldbedonetoo’ way, for instance I do not publish or comment pictures of unknown people without their consent, as I would hate people doing that to me! I can not help myself listening, watching and constantly making up stories though. This is how my morning went today.
We had just had breakfast, and I ventured out for a cappuchino. Even if it was 110 degrees outside, parts of the piazza was still in shadows and I settled in at my favorite table. From here I can see the canal, the campanile, the bridge and the gondolas. This week there are masks all over for the carnevale. I can hear the bells ringing every hour, and enjoy the opera from the loudspeaker at the coffee shop. What I can not see is the view behind me where the canal continues into the old Venice.
Except it is all fake. This Venice is in Las Vegas, and I am enjoying my coffee time while my husband is working. ‘The old Venice’ is painted on the wall and the rest is fairly well staged, to put it that way. Even if it is not real though, like the real thing, it is still real like in real stones, real mortar and really beautiful…..sometimes. Anyways, I enjoy watching people as they stroll, wander, run and saunter on the bridge.
As I was getting seated today a grown up couple in matching outfits stopped on the bridge. Well pressed in white, beige,black and brown, but oh so worried! She consulted her guidebook, he his phone, and both oracles informed them that they were lost, so they hurried on, without a glance at the scenery.
They almost collided with a round, eager woman who ran up on the bridge. Her yellow and red dress was fluttering behind her, and her husband followed quietly in her wake. They both wore flip flops and red sunglasses and she leaned on the bridge railing while laughing at her husband: ‘picture!’ He smiled back and took her picture, just in time before she went along.
Then the bridge lies silently in the scorching sun until a young, slim girl in a white designer’s dress glides up and poses at the railing. She wears a big white hat which her matching boyfriend leans over and adjusts. He looks critically at her, takes up his phone and she turns on a glittering smile for the benefit of the camera. Then they glide on, obviously part of each others stage set.
Just as I am writing this a big, laughing Spanish speaking dad shouts at his wife and kids, ” come here” Mira,Mira! They all stand with him at the bridge, point at the fake view, takes pictures with their phones and shouts: “it almost fooled me! It is all fake!” Then the youngest goes,” the water is real, isn’t it?” and they laugh even more as they continue on the other side.
The next one is a Japanese girl dressed like a doll. She pouts at her phone and takes a picture of herself. A little apart her boyfriend looks into his phone and does the same. As they check their results, a curlyheaded cherub stops at the bridge. He listens open-mouthed as the bells ring. When they finish he is so full of energy that he hauls himself up on the railings, almost fall off, and jumps down again. While he has been enjoying himself his parents are conducting a frantic search in the buggy of the youngest one. They find their cell phone, grabs the boy and continues, without looking at the bridge at all.
Then I admire the yellow dress of a beautiful older lady. She seems alone, but then she shouts at her husband ‘get my picture, hon!’ He keeps reading his paper and she asks a passerby instead. She poses, smiles, with her mouth turned down.
Just as I am leaving, a bride and a groom takes their stand on the bridge. They are followed by a hired photographer. They lean together and are so sweet, enjoying the moment, but the photographer shouts: ‘ move on, one shot at each spot!’
That’s it, I think, as I move on too. Only one shot, in one spot, even so I have been moved, irritated, angered and felt joy over the stories I read into that moments. Walking along I realize that most of those scenes could have been from my own life. The only difference being that my automatic judgement over each of them would not decribe how I feel about my life as a whole. Another reminder that even if the moments can be recorded, seen, counted and journaled, life itself escapes indexing.