Venice: Same S***, Different Way

Venice is otherworldly. The canals, the lagoons, the arched bridges, the eroded front steps- lapped endlessly by the waves. It is something out of fantasy come to life. But if you take a closer look, the ordinary still exists in this extraordinary place. If there’s one continuous ribbon that runs through every civilization it is that of work. Buying, selling, fixing, building, meeting- working. These activities are everywhere, but in Venice the difference lies in the how. It is all out in the open air, laid bare in the water- not boxed up in semis screaming down the freeway. It’s puttering around in the waves, being muscled down the sidewalks, carried through alleys to its final destination. It’s in your face. Venice allowed me to discover its nuts and bolts and reminded me that no matter where you are, people make their homes, routines take shape, and life goes on.

Here, business happens on boats. Invoices are written from the rocking boat to a man on dry land. Boats full of kegs and wine cases, docked up, their contents then trolleyed down the winding alleys. Boats full of bags of concrete with shovels and wheelbarrows- headed for repair. Boats full of luggage headed to the airport, maybe, or maybe it’s lost luggage drifting at sea. Garbage men have garbage boats. There’s produce boats going to market and refrigerated boats; even boats that deliver furniture waterside to expectant owners. Taxi boats, bus boats. Boats tugging at their ropes and anchors telling their captains to hurry on up now, it’s time to go. The winding and unwinding of ropes and knots. The undercurrent of a whole city community, left exposed.

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