Campo Manin or San Luca. It’s hard to remember all the names of places when you are a tourist and you are in Venice. Anyway, I’m sure it was somewhere in between Campo Santo Stefano and Rialto, cos that was the way I used to walk everyday during my three days in this melancholic mysterious and wonderful city that is Venice.
I stopped in the middle of the campo talking on the phone with a friend and, as I always do when I’m using the mobile, I looked all around trying to make the point of what surrounded me. The place was full of kids all dressed up for Halloween, running everywhere followed by their parents, in some ways even more excited than the children at the idea of the party.
Suddenly my attention was all for a girl in her 40ies talking loudly to some friends standing a bit far from her. She was at the ATM machine waiting for some cash (unstable euros?!). Long blonde hair left all down her back, a shining tanned face-probably a fake one since it’s fall right now-a Louis Vitton bag, a Moncler coat, a pair of jeans, I didn’t see the brand but I’m sure they would have been a famous one and, last but not least, these terrible shoes, called Hoogan, very expensive and so well-known among Italians that we can be recognized all around the world for possessing at least one pair of them. As I said, this girl was talking to some friends who looked pretty much similar to her. They obviously must have the same tastes for fashion. Their conversation was possibly listened by all the people in the Campo. That’s very Italian, we like everybody to participate to our discussions.
I stopped what I was doing to look at her and I couldn’t help to ask my self some questions: what does this girl think about the world wide economical crisis? Does she care about the gap created by capitalism between poor people and rich ones? Does she actually know that there is a huge crisis going on and involving everybody’s life?
I would like to point out that what impressed me the most in a negative way was not the girl’s way of dressing up-everybody has got the right to prefer some clothes in comparison to others. What I disliked was their noisy attitude as only they “possess” the place. This behaviour implies a completely disrespect for a public space that should be everybody’s place. Everything looked clear: it’s like she was saying “look at me, I’m all well dressed, I have friends like me that prove my successful social status and I have a presumably big sum of money in my back account”.
Sometimes I think there are people who are not touched at all by what surrounds us, but at the same time, I realize this is a very naïve thought and I try to go on further, believing there must be a deeper level through which to considerate the situation. Maybe they just don’t care, maybe they have reached a sort of stoic “atarassia”, a place where they are not anymore affected by anything and live happy in their non-awareness. Or even better, they own the only weapon left to all of us, a solid irony which helps in taking everything with a clever smile.
I like to believe in some kind of equality principle for which what affects me, affects you as well, in other ways though.
It’s obvious that after the ideology collapsed all has become more relativistic and extremely based on individual desires. To trust an idea of social equality set up by us in a collective way could seem a mere chimera. Nevertheless thinking in these terms is the only possible escape from a society that is dramatically closed to any new-proposing theory.