Trash day can be such a hassle in my house. It comes every Wednesday and involves a 15-year-old boy who suffers from selective memory every Tuesday night.
Over time, I have found the most effective way to solve this problem is to poke him repeatedly with a stick the second he steps off of the school bus and gently remind him via megaphone that the large plastic can-on-wheels won’t haul itself to the curb.
This gentle reminder is followed by moans and groans and him pretending to crawl toward the house on his belly, claiming that he broke both legs and an arm during gym that day at school. Sometimes I pause – because once he actually DID break his arm in gym one day at school – but then I remember that he walked off the bus while texting vigorously, so I poke him again with the stick and whack him once for good measure. It’s a bonding experience. Really, it is.
This week things were no different – though I changed things up by squirting him with the hose instead – but it seemed much less a hassle than usual, partly because I spent last week in Venice, Italy, a magical land of make-believe for
Hoosiers like me, and I’m still basking in the glow of a friends-only vacation. Yes, the trash was full, yes, the boy needed prodded, but this time I didn’t mind it so much after discovering that – in Venice – trash day comes EVERY day by necessity – and I flinched at the thought of having to poke and spray him on a near constant basis. My right arm just isn’t that strong and, after this year’s drought, there just isn’t enough water in the old well to sustain that kind of commitment.
Yes, in Venice, trash day comes every day, because in this magical world of canals and tiny alleys, refuse is collected by hand, hauled in carts by hand and is dumped into boats by crane before disappearing to God knows where across the laguna. Moreover, the average Venetian lives in close quarters and there simply isn’t room to store bags and bags of trash on a weekly basis.
This is not a bad thing. The result is a very clean island with a firm grasp on the disadvantages of a disposable society. There are no to-go cups on Venice, no straws or plastic cup lids blowing in the breeze. Everything is glass, china
and, on occasion, plastic, but it’s all washed, dried and reused. For a city composed of moldering bricks and plaster, it’s as green as they come.
Which got me and my friends thinking as we strolled through those amazing alleys taking pictures willy nilly of every single thing. Just how DOES the average Venetian go about life in a canal-based society? How do you buy groceries, get gas for your boat, fix a toilet, repair a wall?
With grace, with humor and with imagination, we discovered. And so begins our pictorial journey of the every day life of Venice.