We humans are great mimics.
My mother said to me, on numerous occasions, ‘monkey see…monkey do.’
Being social, and by default, tribal creatures…we often identify with our small group.
We tend to reflect the ideas and biases of our neighbors and friends and fellow parishioners. We identify with our geographic location and the customs associated with it.
Simply put, our reality can be a small as a snow globe…or it can be ‘Global.’
We were in Venice, Italy. We were staying in a lovely, flat, with our dear friends, Margo and Jeff, and the flat adjoined a busy courtyard.
Venice is magical! It is over 120 islands that are connected by pedestrian bridges. You may climb twenty steps, ascending the bridge and subsequently descend fifteen steps to the other side. This is due to the varying levels of the two islands that are being joined by the bridge.
Each Venetian shop has tall rubber boots to facilitate the continued operation of the business when it is flooded. Yes, the shops and courtyards flood on a regular basis…as apparently did the flat where we were staying, by evidence of the four pairs of rubber boots that were in the closet. Water was in the foyer of our building, many mornings of our stay.
One day, in Venice, I was sitting outside our flat, without my friend, Jeff, who was ill. I was smoking an Italian cigar and enjoying the, ever, passing throng of tourists and natives.
I became interested in a group of young people who were filming various people that they encountered. They, posed a young man and his girlfriend, and took several shots of them.
Then they came to me. A gentleman asked if I would allow them to film me…as I was, ‘very beautiful.’ At that point I was 57 years old…and had never been referred to as beautiful…and so I let them film!
It turns out that the Italian students were filming for the Venice Film Festival…and my moment in the sun consisted of a one second clip of me taking a puff of my Italian cigar and uttering the word, ‘yeah.’ Oh, I was also wearing my hat from Nice, France.
Outside our flat was a beggar, with the face and demeanor of an angel, who sat, on the steps, near our door each day. Jeff, gave him food and he was humbly grateful.
Venice has wonderful and and intricate, hand made, masks. They are customarily worn during the Carnival of Venice, ‘forty days before Easter, on Shrove Tuesday (Martedi Grasso or Mardi Gras), the day before Ash Wednesday. The festival is world-famous for its elaborate masks.’ Wikipedia
We took a Ghost Tour, one evening, during our stay. The chilly rain magnified a mysterious atmosphere as it landed on the ancient cobblestones. We visited Marco Polos home as well as the location of a murder…a decapitation! Our tour guide told us that some people see the floating head of the murder victim in the water that was just off of the dock that we were standing on…I looked!
Probably, one of the most enjoyable Venice experiences was Mary Jane and I riding in a gondola. There are so many gondolas that the narrow canals can become quite crowded and it was enlightening to observe our gondola driver expertly maneuver between the other boats and buildings.
If you have seen Venice on television or the internet, you may have wondered if the buildings, along the canals, are sitting in the water…they are.
We visited a bookstore that had books stacked from floor to ceiling and steps made out of books that led up to a wall made out of books…that you could stand on.
We boated to the Venetian island of Murano to observe the world famous Murano glass being made. Murano led Europe in glassmaking for hundreds of years. It is mesmerizing to see the glassblowers working with the molten glass to fashion items of delicate and multi-faceted beauty and wonder.
On our last evening in Venice, we had dinner at our favorite restaurant and were served by our favorite waiter, a Mr. Bean lookalike, and I reflected on what it would be like to live in this beautiful place?
I also could not help but think about Jeff and I watching, the real, Mr. Bean, on his iPad and laughing at his escapades.