Some of you know that I’m a high school English teacher. This year I started at a new school, and they do a lot of luncheons, fundraisers, and other events. There’s some weird kind of synergy going on because their theme this year is Venice! They used it for their gala fundraiser, where they decorated with a two-story high backdrop of the Grand Canal and a replica gondola plus signs pointing to the Rialto and San Marco. Today the parents put on a luncheon for the staff, also with a Venetian theme. They served risi e bisi (risotto with peas), onions and polenta, rolled herring, and other authentic dishes.
The problem with this kind of thing is that it gets me very excited in both good and bad ways. I’m so happy to have a little Venice in my California day, but then I start pining. Then I want to be in Venice itself. It becomes painful sometimes. So do I indulge myself with Venice time or avoid it? It’s exactly like being in love with someone you can’t have. Do you think about him or her or try to forget you ever knew ’em? I need help. Or a plane ticket.
And some advice. My school also has teacher cards–they look like a deck of baseball cards, but with teachers on them instead. I’m in the next batch being made. When asked what is unusual about me that few people would know, I wrote, “I am among the world’s experts on Giacomo Casanova’s years in Venice.” I feel like a braggart. But I think this is an accurate statement. There are about 250-300 subscribers to l’Intermediaire, the Casanova journal, which represents the Casanovists in the world. They have various specialties, and mine is Venice. I will never know as much as Helmut and Furio, but I think I’m in the top, what, 100? Maybe even 50? So is it okay for me to bill myself like this?