Litkicks Message Board Archive

canal scene #1

Posted to Roadgoing

After two months, the living room window had become my spot. As the lone smoker in the apartment, I stood there often alone with my thoughts and my cigarettes, staring at the back wall of the Arsenale across the tiny canal from my precious window.

It was Saturday morning. Somehow, I woke up early, feeling no hangover from the night before, and I had laundry to do, so I got up quietly, equally pleased with this rare chance for solitude and the even rarer chance to start washing my clothes before the Saturday morning rush for the machine. The apartment was cold, so I put on my bathrobe, picked out a small load of clothes from my pile in the corner, and on chilly bare feet, padded into the kitchen.

After putting in the clothes, I boiled some water, put it into one of the jars turned drinking glasses, had some tea. I took my tea and my journal to the window ledge, hopped up, and started writing. I took notes on some of the bizarre things floating in the canal, so that I could add them to the list my roommate and I kept taped to one of the kitchen cabinets. I found real treasures that day... a broom handle, some fruit, a shoebox containing new-looking shoes.

My load of laundry finished, I wandered back into the kitchen to retrieve my clothes. I set about hanging them on the line, dropping clothespins and swearing. The man who ran a shop beneath my apartment came out, tossed the clothespins back up at me. "Grazie," I called. He winked and laughed. Nobody dropped as many clothespins onto the street as I did...he was constantly returning them to me.

A water taxi carrying two Americans turned the corner past the Arsenale and headed past my apartment. I watched the middle aged couple as I hung up a towel, listened to their loud conversation, smiled at them as they took rapid fire pictures. The woman looked up at me and waved. I smiled, waved back a little bit, hung up a sock. She elbowed her husband, who was holding the camera. "Look at that woman hanging up her laundry," I imagined her saying. He smiled at me and snapped a picture.

Funny, I thought, now immortalized in their vacation photos. They wanted an authentic Venetian to show people when they got home ("Look, a real Italian woman hanging up her laundry! Real life in Venice!"), and they got me, American student in her bathrobe, instead.