Thursday, March 6, 2008

Were you born in a barn?

Remember when your mom used to yell that at you as a kid when you left the door open? In the last two weeks I have come close to blurting it out in Italian many times on the vaporetto, but not sure if the direct translation would really make sense (especially since not many Venetians have barns on the island!).

Anyway, when you enter the vaporetto, there are two areas. The first is standing only and then you cross through a doorway for seats. In the summer, those doors are always open so you can get a breeze going (hopefully). In the winter, however, most people prefer the doors to be closed to avoid feeling the wind. There are no heaters or a/c units on the vaporetto so every little bit helps.

It boggles the mind when people enter the seating area and have to open the doors to do so but then just walk right on and dont close the door behind them. The other night on the way to Bible study (the day of all the bad weather), I took the number 3 bus which is a new line for only Venetians and people with monthly passes (i.e. no tourists). Because of this exclusive invitation list, its never crowded and tons of seats are available. I was in the first few rows of the seating area and somehow or other deemed myself door monitor. I must have closed it half a dozen times after people entered--each time shaking my head and looking at the last person who crossed over. These are all people who are vaporetto savvy by the nature of being on number 3, so it shouldnt be an issue, but I soon got tired of this exercise and gave up. A fellow passenger took up the reins and on the next stop, two young girls entered.

Now it was immediately obvious that they were not to be on the number 3. With pale skin, red hair, tons of freckles, wearing those cheap 1 euro rain coats you buy from the Chinese store and a look of confusion on their faces, they opened the doors and crossed through. You guessed it, they didnt close it behind them. Well, Mr. Venetian gave them a scowl and pointed at the door. These girls were so confused and impressionable, that they gave a panicked look back, turned around, went out to the standing area and closed the door behind them (how come they can do it in this direction?)! Instead of closing the door with them inside, they thought he was telling them they couldnt be in this area! Everyone started laughing in their seats at this event and no one bothered to get up and tell the girls the 'truth'.

Its obvious that closing the door behind you is not an international rule, skill or trait and from this small experiment, I doubt that I will make a dent in training anyone. Instead, I will give up my quest and prepare for my trip to Dublin today. We are not expecting the best of weather but there will be plenty of pints of Guiness to keep us warm! We return on Monday evening, so I will talk to you then.....

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