So I'm going back to Venice. It's been what, three or four years now? [Runs to look at the blog.] Oh, my god, it's been five years. No WONDER I've been dreaming about it so much. I always dream about Venice, but it's usually along the lines of two or three times a year. Lately it's been almost weekly. I'm always trying to GET there, but something is holding me back — I'm late for the plane or I don't have my passport, and I can see the plane, sparkling there, ready to take me, and I can't get on. Or worse, I'm in a city full of cars (Mestre?) just outside Venice and I can't find a boat that will take me. Only about once a year do I actually get to Venice in my dreams, but oh, it's lovely when I do.
I was just thinking about the time I stole a boat in Venice, about eight years ago. Okay, okay, I only kind of lied my way into borrowing it. IT WAS SO AWESOME. Here's the story (from the blog back in MyGlassHouse days):
First: I decided to release the Venetian mystery I had
been reading, a la bookcrossing.com, at Harry's Bar. I
had never been there, except for popping my head in
once or twice, and I wanted a Bellini. I happened to
arrive when it wasn't that busy, so I ordered a
Bellini and a small sandwich. What was that? Oh,
that'll be fine. Whoops. What I got was a
mayo/egg/anchovy sandwich. I ate it, though.
And I released the book, even though the very
attentive maitre'd chased me out, "Prego, signorina!"
Oh, that's not mine, but thank you! And I ran.
I stopped to breathe my anchovy
breath at a motor launch. I noticed it was the launch
for the Hotel Cipiriani, the exclusive resort across
the lagoon. This is when I got the idea.
I thought for a while. Then.
I walked out on the dock and used the phone that was
thoughtfully connected there to order the boat. Yep.
When the gleaming boat arrived, driven by the gleaming
Lovely Man, I had my Italian all planned out. "What
time is it? Have you seen my friend? Small, beautiful?
We were supposed to meet an hour ago at the
Number one: I didn't know if the hotel even HAD a
restaurant, but I figured it was a good guess.
Number two: The driver had no English, and my Italian
varies, and today was an off day. I might have
actually been saying, "What time is it? Have you seen
my pickle? Beer, green? We were supposed to marry
yesterday on a ski."
But he seemed to understand, no, he had not seen my
friend dee ann, and he held his hand out to help me in
the boat. Which he then drove across the lagoon, ME
HIS ONLY PASSENGER. Me, in this limo of a boat. I sat
inside. I stood in the back. I stood in the middle. I
finally stood in the front with the Lovely Man who
obligingly stopped in the middle of the choppy water,
in the sun, to take a picture of me. Grinning me. I
Once he helped me out of the boat, I kinda had to keep
up the ruse, since he just sat in the boat and watched
me inside. I swept in, "Is my friend dee ann here? I'm
late, and she had to leave for Greece…." As far as I
know, dee ann is either in San Diego or headed up the
coast in a fast car, but she ain't in Italy (more's
the pity). But Perfectly Groomed Eyebrows merely
smiled, "We haven't seen your friend, madame. Did she
have a reservation?"
For it was a room about the size of my living room,
full of RICH Italians wearing fur and dripping
"Reservations? No, we don't do reservations. I'll just
wait here, if I might? A Bellini?" I don't know where
the words came from, I swear.
"Sadly, we only use fresh juice here, madame. Would
you like fresh-squeezed raspberry juice and prosecco
instead, while you wait?"
Oh, I guessed that would be all right. By the time I
drank my drink (you DON'T want to know what that one
cost) and thanked my genial host and washed my hands
in the gorgeous bathroom (and stole some of the teeny
guest soaps shaped like hearts, don't tell), I was
genuinely getting miffed that dee ann hadn't arrived.
I scare myself sometimes. Right now Mom is saying,
"Cheeky girl." But she would have been the first on
the boat, don't let her fool you.
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