Thursday, April 14, 2005

An Addiction in Living Color

I have recently come to realize that I have to face reality, to see the hard, cold fact that I am an addict. It has been difficult to admit. I've found that I have sought solace and comfort in this addiction. And now I can no longer stay in a state of denial. The substance of choice is the Sorrento Web Cam.

I log on to this site and look upon the image it beams to me as my very own street scene, the neighborhood in which I dwell with a view onto the little dramas and activities played out below. I pretend that, instead of a prospect out my window over wind-swept sagebrush, this is my vista. I have an apartment in a stone building (at least 300 years old), it was formerly a palazzo that has now been subdivided into about twenty apartments with a private central courtyard. I have old foot-worn stone steps leading up to my hand-hewn wood door with a heavy iron knocker. I gaze out my window periodically to see what is going on in the piazza below. I see my neighbors and fellow townspeople going about their daily lives, shopping - perhaps for a bouquet of flowers to take to dinner tonight at friends, or maybe for a new blouse in the latest spring style, or maybe they're just out for their ritual afternoon tiny cup of espresso. I watch as they pass in their tiny cars or zip through the street on their vespas.

I always enjoy watching the Sorrento passeggiata as everyone is out for their regular evening stroll, arm in arm, calling out to one another, stopping in the street to chat. I am, I imagine, out on my little balcony watering the colorful cascades of flowers, their containers an assortment of sizes and hues, along with my requisite pots of culinary herbs and I call out, "Ciao Angelo," and "Buona sera, Signora Verde. Come sta oggi?," leaning on my wrought iron balcony railing and chatting (in Italian and effortlessly, of course) with my neighbors below.

The scene on this webcam updates every few seconds, so it's almost like real-time viewing. I put the site on my screen and leave it up and active while I'm writing or reading email or surfing the web, and then I flip it back up for a gander every once in a while. Through my voyeuristic escapades I get to see what is currently la moda in Italy this season. I get to guess who the tourists are and where they are from ("Oh that guy is definitely from Nebraska"). I get to see what the weather is like there. And of course I get to wish that I was there.

This "window gazing" has led me to two conclusions: I really am hopelessly fanatical about Italy; and I definitely need to get a life.

copyright 2005 Valerie Schneider

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