Posted by: jeanne | January 29, 2017

sick day

while we were waiting for the bus to the ferry to lido from pellestrina, we met an australian woman who was traveling by herself for the moment; her traveling companions all having gone elsewhere, she stayed in venice another few days before going off to the dolomites for a bit of snow and mountains.  so we asked her to dinner, and things being the way they are, never really expected her to come.  in my experience, when you make instant friends in another country, it usually stops with that first in-depth conversation.  it’s happened many times to me in ireland – i promise i’ll be there – and in venice, where they’ll cross the road and duck down an alley to avoid talking to you, and in iceland, where they’re just too busy and are naturally wary of tourists.  so i figured it would be the same with australians, and was pleasantly surprised when she called and asked if we were still up for dinner.

and we were.  we’d gone out to the market early that day, got a nice bit of fish and some more huge shrimp, some fresh tagliatelli, and some salad.  i was going to retry the quasi-venetian recipe i’ve been relying on.  and we didn’t really go anywhere else, and i forgot to bring a camera with me.  for the local stuff we’re more like residents than tourists now, we walk fast, we don’t pause in front of trinket shops, we duck down side alleys to get away from the tourist clot, we don’t take photos.

it was a delightful dinner, and we all got to know each other.  her name is kathy, and she’s spent time teaching aboriginal children in her tiny village in the southwest of australia, which name i now forget.  it’s a fishing village, and she and her husband used to go dig clams a lot, but it turns out to be a lot of trouble to keep a clam bed, so not so much now.

after dinner, we walked her back to her hotel, the same hotel we saw a bunch of german photographers emerge from the last time we went down accademia way.  she said this week it’s a bunch of english photographers – it must have a name.  and then we went inside, explored her tiny ground floor room, and then said goodbye and walked back.  connor was asleep in moments after hitting the pillow.  jim and i stayed up long enough to read a chapter.

the next morning i woke up with an incipient headache, which turned into a migraine as the day went on.  so i spent the day in bed, leaving jim and connor to their own devices.  connor spent most of the day on his kindle playing minecraft and watching cartoons on netflix, the very thing i limit when i’m my usual self.

midafternoon i felt well enough to get up for a minute.  i paced back and forth along the hall, trying to work my shoulders loose, and measured our apartment – 56’x30′ – very large.  then i managed to go to the store with the boys, for the usual – more milk, some eggs, a jar of peanut butter at the specialty store near rialto market.  this time, i decided the boys are too dependent on me, so i made jim go first, and followed along behind him nursing my poor head.

and he made it!  all the right turns, all the right dodges.  not only did he make it to the peanut butter store without a fail, but then he made it to the conad store, which involves a turn off the main path (it’s actually the main path to piazzale roma, but it’s not apparent unless you know about it).  i was very proud of him.

and went back to bed the moment we got back into the house.  the peanut butter store had been closed, and he planned to go back to it once it opened for the evening at 4.  but i didn’t care.  i was concentrating on releasing the muscles that pulled the vertebra out of place and caused me a splitting headache and nausea.  i don’t sleep much when i get a migraine; it’s more like meditation.  this time ice packs didn’t help a bit, so gentle massage and trying to sleep was all i could do.  i haven’t had a migraine here yet, not since the one i almost got in the paris airport, so i had been feeling like i’d dodged one. hahaha

jim had success getting the peanut butter without getting lost, and arrived back at the house as it was getting dark.  connor was in his room playing minecraft the whole time.  when jim stopped at the coop store, the clerk with the american mother was on duty, and they spoke a few words.  the clerk said trump and put his thumb down, and jim made his most ferocious trump-face back, and they both laughed.  apparently we function as ambassadors of good sense, reassuring the italians that not everybody in america has gone crazy.  it’s a good deed.  i did the same when reagan was president…

the sound of the water slapping against the boat moored below our window, and lapping the steps of the water doors, and sliding along the crustacean-covered walls at the water line – it can sound like waves, but usually it sounds like someone turning a page, or coughing gently, or padding down a hall in stockinged feet.  and the motor sounds are never cars, but always boats.  these distinctions become important when  you’re lying in bed all day and can’t really get up and look.  the sun doesn’t come all the way around to our bedroom windows, either.  it rises behind the house on the other side of our campiello, and crosses around to the back of the palazzo across the canal from us.  the same way we don’t tend to see the moon, which was a new moon during my sick day…

the birds are confusing, too.  in the middle of the night i heard connor cry out, and when i went to check on him, he was sleeping peacefully.  it was a squacco sounding like a human.  and this morning a bird woke me up with ‘figeac’ which is a small town in the south of france.  my dreams were all about being chased by nazis, and hiding jim’s work from them because it was too inflammatory for nazis.  my dreams are filled with current events in disguise.  the other night i dreamed of an anaconda swallowing a zebra.

today it’s nice, and my neck is back to normal, sort of.  i took a midmorning nap to ensure it.  and woke up to find jim nowhere around.  connor was playing his game, so didn’t know where he’d gone either.  but the mystery was solved when he appeared in the campiello outside, taking pictures of this and that.

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it’s sunday, so we don’t want to visit any churches, and the markets and most of the stores are closed, so we plan to take in carlo goldoni’s palazzo, where there’s this wonderful pozzo and exterior staircase that we can see from the street.

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so we went there.  there’s not much to look at in the goldoni house, just a sitting room and a dining room,

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and a room filled with marionettes.

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he was a playwright back in the 1700s, very progressive for his time, all about the rights of women.  the main attraction was connor and his way of enchanting all the guards in all the museums.

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after which we wound our way to the pastry shop where we get our fritelle every day.  connor has conquered the woman who works there; he walks in and she grabs him for a big hug.

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so now we’ve had our tea and fritelle, and we’re waiting for dinner to get itself ready.  tonight it’s lamb soup, and the venetian version of shrimp and grits (shrimp and polenta).  it’s supposed to be raining any old day now, but for the moment it’s still a no clouds sky, and for all i know it’ll stay that way forever.

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