Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Little Mystery

I said when we were starting out on our Italian adventure that our plan was to do pretty much nothing and while it has been difficult at times to stick to this regimen, we have actually adhered to it quite well. Oh sometimes I fall off the wagon and actually do something productive. I mean, the laundry isn’t going to get up and wash itself, but for the most part I have kept my ambitions to almost zero.

The result of this approach has been that I see many strange things and I have time to ponder them. For example, this window box balloon/plant arrangement was on display in early September when we arrived. We pass it every day on our way to the bus stop. At the beginning of our stay I thought that its owner was the recipient of some kind of balloon- floral bouquet which s/he was nice enough to share with passersby. Of course the balloons, as they tend to do, started losing air. We figured, well that’s the end of that. Yet the day after we witnessed the balloons valiantly gasping for their last remaining thimbleful of air, they were replaced with new balloons. So, now I’m really mystified because it is obviously an intentional and possibly permanent display. The new balloons were blue and red. Perhaps this was some kind of good luck arrangement in anticipation of a baby ? I Googled all kinds of things: balloons, windows, fertility, baby, obsessive tourist with too much time on her hands. Niente. Nothing. You can see from the photo that the balloons have been switched again. They have probably been arranged twice a week since we've been here.

Around week four the plot thickened. I saw a man leaving the building who was very distinctive looking. He had wavy dark hair, way too long to be in style. It was reminiscent of Chico Marx. He wore brightly colored clothes, often red, and his bicycle was two-toned, also bright colors. He looked, in other words, like an off-duty clown. Now, it must be said that I am not at all certain that he is the owner of the apartment and balloon window box, but wouldn’t it be funny if it turned out he was a clown and his whole apartment was furnished in clown style ? I’m picturing a bouquet in the center of the table, all made of balloons to go with the one in the window. I imagine him sweeping the floor at night, causing a spotlight to get smaller and smaller. Maybe the shoes in his closet are all really really huge. I know that if and when I get my explanation (I’ll ask my Italian teacher if I can’t find out from my neighbors) it won’t be nearly as exciting as my little idea. So maybe I shouldn’t find out anything. The reality would only burst my…balloon.

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