photo credit: JenIs it proper to walk upon this pier in Cavallino Treporti on February 26? Probably not.
This last example is one of the first (of countless) beach rules one learns when one starts to go to the Lido during the summer with Venetians. But yesterday Jen learned another.
It was a mild sunny day and Jen and Sandro spent much of it on Lido. Sandro met a girl of his own age there and they played together for quite a while. She was there with her grandfather, a friendly man, and good with kids, as many older Italian men seem to be. But he looked a little less conventional than the average Italian grandfather, Jen said. His gray hair was long, he wore camouflage pants and a black T-shirt, he smoked cigarettes. He looked a bit like a very tidy biker, a bit like a sculptor. He pointed out sea gulls to his grand-daughter and Sandro. He looked on pleasantly as they ran around and played in the sand with sticks, but when his grand-daughter began to dig in the sand with the plastic beach shovel Sandro had brought he gently took it away from her, telling her in Italian that it was not the right season for sand shovels and buckets.
Inevitably, in the course of their play she succumbed a few more times to the temptation to use the shovel and each time he took it away from her again and calmly explained once more that it was not yet time to use such things. It's only February, after all. He held up a hand to her and counted off on his fingers the number of months until the proper time will arrive: one, two, three. Late May or the beginning of June, depending on how you want to calculate it. Then, and only then, will it be time to use sand shovels at the beach. At least according to Venetian rules.