One earplug had popped out and I woke up, luxuriating and stretching in the large comfortable hotel bed my friend Lisette found for me upon my arrival in Venice not 24 hours before. It wasn’t time to get up. Street noise from below had gone on making it difficult to fall asleep and now voices and laughter continued. My travel clock glowed 1:17a.m. I needed more than a couple hours sleep, but the other voice that kept me awake was in my own head. I wanted to get up and write about how lyrical the Italian language was, tonight’s annoyances notwithstanding.
And it certainly could not be compared to the noontime noise and hubub of the tourist crowds and packs of students everywhere.
I believe Italy should be viewed overall as a grand experience, good, bad or indifferent, whatever the perspective of the traveler. Of all that I know of my Italian heritage and now my 4th trip in my elder years, it is that everything about the country and its people fills your senses in every way. My other earplug had popped out and further demanded I get up and get busy despite the morning chill. Why they didn’t make earplugs in sizes like everything else is beyond me. I pulled pants over my pajamas, put on a heavy sweater, scarf and bath towel over my shoulders and made a big lap desk from the hotel pillows and climbed back into bed with my laptop. But not before I checked out the small now almost empty courtyard below. Only one couple stood huddled together in the dim light, her head on his shoulder, their fingers working over a cell phone glowing in their hands. The canal glistened nearby, its waters forever twinkling nervously, ready for the next day’s action. A few voices still came through the walls, and/or the neighborhood, but not quite like it was during the night, when earplugs demanded deep immersion.
Warmed up, I threw off the towel and scarf. Though more quiet outside now, I could still hear the voices from below in my head. They twinkled, too, like music spilling off the keyboard of a piano played by fingers that could not express their notes fast enough, their passion strong enough, their pleasure delightful enough. The Italian language is nothing if not musical, and yesterday was a reminder of its complexity, the words spoken so fast, lilting like a delightful tune. More actual voices piped in now with the earplugs out. Laughter, twinkling like the canal, lilting in delight, lots of words and musical giggles. What are those people doing out there, or in there, wherever they are they were enjoying themselves and all was good with the world.
Lisette, and Fabio at the hotel all spoke similarly. Fast, furious and copious. There was much to explain, as Lisette occupied her cell phone during much of our meeting with long talks and explanations, Fabio and Diego doing the same when we met, explaining, making sure that all was being made correct, comfortable, and pleasing. It was more than just hospitality from inn keepers. It was heartfelt and sincere.
I thought Americans could use more of this kind of charm, if only it could be taught. But then, this is the heritage of an ancient land and complex society, born slowly over time and tribulation, steeped in traditions, customs, passions, deep family values and more. Americans just don’t seem to have that kind of history, tradition or time, not yesterday, today or tomorrow.