Afa will make you do anything


The last two weeks of August here contain some of the most predictable events ever found on earth, right up there on the list next to sunrise and the last Saturday at WalMart before school starts.

Our predictable events in this period are the preparations for the Venice Film Festival (this year August 31 to September 10), which involve what always look like amazingly late and chaotic preparations of the main theatre known as the Palacinema and its environs, plus truckloads of complaints and accusations of waste and inefficiency from everybody except the organizers.  There are also preparations for the Regata Storica, whose five days of eliminations conclude tomorrow, which proceed in a more organized way.  This may be because they are, in fact, better organized, or only because they entail fewer people and matter less to the world at large, by which I mean there’s less money involved.

But these are events which you can ignore if you’re not particularly interested. What nobody can ignore is the afa.

If you can make out any land at all on the horizon, that would be the rest of the world. Or maybe it's a mirage.

The afa currently sucking the life out of the lagoon and its denizens also qualifies as an annual event  and you don’t even have to go to it.  It comes to you.  “The afa came down like a wolf on the fold,” as Lord Byron didn’t say, and its cohorts, if it had any, are definitely not gleaming in purple and gold. They’re not gleaming at all, theyre practically naked and most of them are neck deep in the exhausted tepid water of the Adriatic.

In fact, a morning view of either the sea or the lagoon gives the impression that these bodies of water are not made of water at all, but of glycerine, heavy and smooth, a colorless liquid that barely has the strength to form even the tiniest wave.

I know how it feels.  When the alarm sounds in the shapeless sodden dawn, the term “primordial ooze” comes to mind, by which I don’t mean the world, I mean me. It isn’t a good feeling to be either primordial or oozy and to be both is depressing even if I  know that evolution will eventually bring me the opposable thumb and the sextant and the sonnets of Shakespeare.

Looking toward Venice, the most beautiful city in the world, if you can make it out.

A Saharan front is pressing down on the Veneto region and also much of the rest of the old Belpaese, and it’s the longest and hottest heatwave around here for the last 20 years.  Good for beach tourism, I suppose, though not good for other activities like farming.

One Bosnian truckdriver was completely unimpressed by all this.  He stopped in a supermarket parking lot at Crocetta del Montello near Treviso yesterday, and all that sunshine immediately made him think of catching some of those rays.

This may not have been precisely the form of the truck in question, but it still doesn't say "beach" to me.

So he climbed up onto the roof of his cab, I suppose on some kind of towel to avoid completely crisping, with a supply of drinks at hand.  Voila!  His own little beach!

Then he took off all his clothes and stretched out.  Evidently Bosnian truckers hate those bathing-suit lines as much as anybody.

A cashier in the supermarket saw the naked man tanning himself  up there and called the Carabinieri.  End of tan.

I don’t know if Venice has ever experienced a monsoon, but I can tell you we’re all waiting for one.

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  1. […] a bonus of 100 percent humidity. Everything is soggy. This is far beyond poor but honest little afa. Life was good back when a dog-day remained modestly canine, without changing into the Beast of […]