|The Campo dell'Abbazia della Misercordia|
I fear that by the time I finish typing this sentence its point will no longer be true--as that's how short the tourist off-season in Venice now is--but today was a gloriously gray, cold, foggy-ish December day during which, in the course of my errands around town, I do believe I actually saw more residents than tourists. No doubt this experience had something to do with the parts of town to which my errands took me, but it wasn't just that, as in the very same parts of town on most days of the year tourists outnumber residents. No, I realized that we're now in one of those all-too-short-lived and rare tourist lulls, a period whose difference is not just seen by residents but felt. Even the rather mercurial fruttivendolo (vegetable and fruit seller) in Campo Santa Maria Formosa, who can bounce in a flash from brightly hailing kids and their parents as they pass to or from a nearby school to snarling at a tourist for touching an eggplant, seemed as beatifically calm as the Buddha. Venetians seem noticeably less tense, less bitter, less despondent during such lulls. The old (or older) timers among them--but not only them--might perhaps be quick enough to say that this is how things should always be, and how they once were. But there's a sense that for them, too, so long removed from what once seemed like a given, such lulls now appear as nothing less than magical periods, as charged and wondrous as Christmas morning is for children, and like children they move through these periods a bit breathlessly, haunted by the constant sense of how soon they'll be over.
|The view from behind the brass nose (of Sior Rioba)|