Wednesday, June 3, 2015

5 x 5 = 25 Part One

I'm happy to report that the Gondola Blog has now published
just over 2,500 posts.

What that really means is that 500 posts ago, I completely missed the opportunity to say "hey, guess what: we've got 2,000 posts here!"

Anyway, to celebrate, I'm sharing twenty-five things I've learned during the time spent posting here, and on the back of a gondola. 

We'll start off with the first five in this post. 
Feel free to interject with thoughts, opinions,
and insults in the comment box.

There's extra gravity around the water
One of the first things I tell someone when I begin training them to work on
or around gondolas, is that there is "extra gravity" around the water,
and especially in that space between a boat and the dock.

Need proof?
Drop a tool, cell phone or something else of worth anywhere near that gap and it will end up falling, bouncing, sliding or in some other way navigating its way into that space and into the drink. 
Sometimes I could swear that the item that fell,
actually got sucked into that narrow gap!
It's like a "gravity vortex!"

And on that note...

Water is wet...and anything that comes in contact with it will therefore also become wet
We all have personal religious beliefs.  I have my own convictions,
and I love Christmas and Easter, but outside the church,
denominationally I often refer to myself as being an "Electronic Baptist" - because if it's electronic I've probably baptized it (and many others like it).

To date I'm responsible for the salt-water-cleansing of at least:
5 cell phones
3 boom boxes
6 pagers (remember those?)
4 Bluetooth earpieces
and I lost count of splashing flashlights years ago.
I doubt any of those numbers are records, but they do serve as examples of my "Electronic Baptist" tendencies.

Stainless is not always stainless
Most stainless steel still needs a little help remaining stainless. 
There's plenty of the stuff out there that really is steel,
but for it to be "stainless", it needs to have other elements in it.
Stainless steel is an alloy, and when they put another metal in the mix
it keeps the whole thing from rusting...or so they say.

The more non-steel they put in it, the less corrosion,
but the less corrosion - the weaker the stainless steel. 
If you find yourself having to buff or polish that metal from time to time -
cheer up, it might be that you've got a stronger metal piece there.

If you're still feeling indignant about it,
think about all those gondoliers who have,
and still continue to polish brass (and quit yer whinin').

Everything is temporary
Even that beautifully perfect coat of varnish you just finished.  It just is. 
If you want perfection that lasts forever, hmmm,
well I don't really have any wisdom for you there.
Brush another coat on.  It'll last a little longer.

More to the point, take a moment to appreciate perfection,
because it won't stay that way. 
Enjoy the moment.
And don't lose your mind when that perfect moment/paint job/sunset/set of waves takes a turn or comes to a close.
It's just the way it is.
Again, brush another coat on.  It'll be worth it.

Everybody expects you to sing, NOW!
"Why aren't you singing?!"
They shout demandingly from bridges and passing boats.

Never mind that just one minute ago I finished the most beautiful aria,
making the perfect memory for my passengers.

Never mind that I already have two people in my boat who are my only real concern - people who actually paid to be there.

Never mind that as a mammal, I need to breathe and haven't yet figured out a way to make my every waking breath a musical note for the benefit of someone's fanciful stereotype of a gondolier.

"You should be singing!" They shout.

The guy with the fishing pole on the shore line makes that hand-to-the-ear gesture, as if to say "I can't hear you".

The Newport Beach soccer mom shouts from the family cruise:
"I don't hear any singing!"
in a chiding tone, as if she's caught me breaking some kind of law.

One of the most on-point things I've ever heard about being a gondolier came out of Venice.  I can't remember who said it, but the quote was:
"Being a gondolier is like being a monkey at the zoo".
So true.
Everyone has definite ideas about how they think you should be acting,
and they have no problem insisting that you do so, now!
So SING, you trained monkey!

Ok, I'll calm down now.
I hope you've enjoyed the first five items.
Stay tuned for more.


Tamás said...

(Everybody expects you to sing, NOW!)

I wonder if this kind of extreme expectation may be specific to the anglo-american sphere, because of Gilbert and Sullivan?

I heard in Venezia only sandolists need to take a singing exam, but one can have false voice and still become a gondolier?

Gondola Greg said...

I believe the Gilbert and Sullivan effect is real, especially in this country.