Apr
13

Just more looking

By
I'm beginning to think that shadows and reflections are more interesting than the real things that cause them. I wonder if the French have invented a philosophy that would explain that.

I’m beginning to think that shadows and reflections are more interesting than the real things that cause them. I wonder if the French have invented a philosophy that would explain that.

There are large and heavy subjects to address, but I’m not going to do it.

I’m not going to talk about the two million euros of fines levied on illegal street vendors over the past year, because all those fines are unpaid and will remain unpaid forever.  (Although it costs the city 14 euros each to issue them.)  Spending money in order to lose it?  Isn’t that what lottery tickets are for?  Anyway, there will continue to be more illegal street vendors, and fines, and on and on in the endless cycle of birth and rebirth.

I’m also not going to talk about the political jockeying which has begun as the mayoral election begins to take form on the horizon.  Nor is it worth devoting any time to listing the daily perp walk of corrupt politicians and businessmen, a procession which seems to know no end.

Seeing that I do not intend to address these very worthy topics, at least not at the moment, I’ll just share some recent glimpses.

Someone on the next street over has a festive way of giving their garbage to the collector.  Either there is not one other piece of string to be found in the house (not even for ready money), or this person has a charming way of brightening up the most mundane tasks and objects.  I can almost hear the person saying "Here!  It's for you!"

Someone on the next street over has a festive way of giving their garbage to the collector. Either there is not one other piece of string to be found in their house (not even for ready money), or this person has a charming way of brightening up the most mundane tasks and objects. I can almost hear her saying “Here! It’s for you!”

And speaking of tying things, the owner of this boat (an honors graduate of Gordium State Technical College) has made the task of securing his deteriorating vessel with this unique knot.  Or knots.  He doesn't realize that in the case of knots, quality beats quantity.  You just need one knot -- the right one, tied the right way -- to keep your boat secure till peace and justice reign on earth.  But he evidently ascribes to the fatal mix of "You never know" and "You can't take too many chances."

While we’re on the subject of tying things, the owner of this boat (an honors graduate of Gordium State Institute of Technology) has secured his deteriorating vessel with this unique knot. Or knots. He doesn’t realize that in the case of knots, quality beats quantity. You just need one knot — the right one, tied the right way — to keep your boat safe till peace and justice reign on earth. But he evidently is the classic belt-and-suspenders person.

There's another nodal creation on the other side.  He'll be ready to withstand Typhoon TK, but if he needs to untie the boat he's going to discover the true meaning of remorse.

There’s another nodal creation on the other side. He’ll be ready to withstand Typhoon Brunnhilde, but if he needs to untie the boat in a hurry he’s going to discover the true meaning of remorse and recrimination.

Venice is composed almost entirely of buildings and walls which have undergone so many transformations they practically qualify as genealogical charts. I call these "Walls of Second Thoughts," and this is not the most extreme example I've found. It does have a sort of charm, though. I can almost hear the families and the workmen over the centuries, discussing and deciding. Sometimes I imagine I can hear someone muttering, "It was better the way it w

Venice is composed almost entirely of buildings and walls which have undergone so many transformations they practically qualify as genealogical charts. I call these “Walls of Second Thoughts,” and this is not the most extreme example I’ve found. It does have a sort of charm, though. I can almost hear the families and the workmen over the centuries, discussing and deciding, then hauling and hammering and just generally slaving and sweating. Sometimes I can just make out the voice of someone muttering, “It was better the way it was.”

Several thoughts -- second, third, fourth -- have passed over the facade of this palace.  The door I can dimly understand, but why they thought it best to suffocate a beautiful ogival-arch window makes me very discontented.

Several thoughts — second, third, fourth — have passed over the facade of this palace. The door I can dimly understand, but that they thought it best to suffocate a beautiful ogee-arch window perplexes me.

I can usually, with more or less effort, figure out what I'm looking at.  But this sturdy stone barrier has shut down my brain.  I understand the complex and perhaps effective barrier intended to keep acqua alta at bay, but the additional slab corresponds to nothing I've ever seen or experienced.  Theories are welcome, but if any reader KNOWS what this is for, I'm considering offering a reward.

Speaking of second thoughts, may I modestly say that I can usually, with more or less effort, figure out what I’m looking at. But this sturdy stone barrier has shut down my brain. I understand the complex and perhaps effective barrier across the door which is obviously intended to keep acqua alta at bay, but the additional slab corresponds to nothing I’ve ever seen or experienced. Theories are welcome, but if any reader KNOWS what this is for, I’m considering offering a reward.

And of course no day is complete without its ration of laundry. I wonder if the person who hung all this out had any idea what it looks like. They're probably more interested in how dry it's going to be before nightfall.

And of course no day is complete without its ration of laundry. I wonder if the person who hung all this out had any idea what it looks like. They’re probably more interested in how dry it’s going to be before nightfall.

Is this a shadow or a reflection of Tourists Past? No, sadly -- it's Tourists Present, tourists dormant, tourists without form, and void. The season has begun.

Is this a shadow or a reflection of Tourists Past? Sadly, no — it’s Tourists Present, tourists dormant, tourists without form, and void. The season has begun.

I'm going back out to the lagoon, where equally crazy things go on every day, but at least I can count on the egrets to know how to behave.

I’m going back out to the lagoon, where equally crazy things go on every day, but at least I can count on the egrets to know how to behave.

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Categories : Venetian-ness

Comments

  1. Randy Bosch says:

    Just a thought about the “sturdy stone barrier”. Noting the drain adjacent to it, perhaps the intent of the stone was to encourage water to find the drain rather than flowing past the door. The rather complex aqua alta bromide at the door supports such a conclusion. Why so tall a sturdy stone barrier? If shorter, some people (I am one of the some) would find a way to stumble over a shorter one so close to the door. Just a thought…

    • Erla Zwingle says:

      I appreciate your thinking about this with some seriousness. But I’m not convinced. If the barrier across the door is indeed waterproof — which it certainly appears to be — nothing more ought to be needed to protect the door. The drain is almost certainly for rainwater — we have drains like that all down our street. Water ‘flowing past the door” would inevitably be acqua alta, and drains are useless in that case, in part because the water often rises through them. Thanks for trying, though.

  2. vicky blake says:

    Your comment on the tourists made me laugh. I was brought up in the center of Oxford and ended up with a pretty similar attitude to tourists. My best question was someone standing in Radcliffe Square and saying ‘Where’s the university?’ To which my reply was, ‘You’re in it.’

  3. Tim Doonan says:

    “an honors graduate of Gordium State Institute of Technology”? What a great line for the photo. In fact, the whole paragraph is clever commentary on the photo. It’s what makes your observations interesting.

    • Erla Zwingle says:

      Thanks — I’m glad to know my observations are interesting to anyone other than myself!