Reportage: At Gate 106
Dateline: Friday lunchtime
Was Venice trying to tell us something already? At the gate we sat next to a woman, a nudge away from 60, grey hair close copped, and with a balding triangle on her crown. Her rimless glasses opened on to paranoid eyes. And she was determined to share them.
- Your first time? To Venice? Do not tell anyone anything. They will ask. They are nosey. Do not tell them about the money you are carrying. Always say 'No, grazie.' They speak the language, but do not want you to think they do. You must keep everything you value wrapped around you. Take it with you when you leave. You will be fine with the food. Are you staying Mestre? Venice? You will not hear anything. You will not get used to the not noise. No cars, no buses. But the waterbus. You will hear the dogs. You will hear the cats, miaow miaow.
M, head down checking her phone, suddenly hissed. 'She's been mugged in Rome?'
And it began again.
- You will be mugged. You will be in danger.
I was beginning to feel as if I had stumbled into a remake of Don't Look Now. But she wasn't crone enough, red enough.
She slid over the faux-pine of the seat and harassed my ear further.
- You, your wife, your whatever she is. You must gradually shed all the parasites from your life.
The flight was called. She sprang up, and started the queue to board.