status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage
At 6 o’clock this morning, after a night punctuated by the bat thumping round her box like a stroppy adolescent, the dog padding incessantly back and forth from the sofa to his water bowl and odd snatches of half-sleep where I dreamt that my pillow was covered in spiders, my room was full of people and from which I eerily woke myself laughing, I just gave in and got up.
And this is the bewildering sight that met my eyes…
The intrigue was exacerbated by the fact that all this unexpected graffiti was in dialect, rendering most of it incomprehensible to me.
So, unable to resist the lure of potential scandal, and after a restorative cup of PG Tips, I pulled on my togs, grabbed my camera and headed for the strada in search of enlightenment…
…and it transpires, that according to a village tradition going back several generations, all those turning 18 get together once during the year and write rhyming messages in chalk outside the local businesses and other buildings of note. The rhymes usually serving to highlight some quirk or other of the patron or indeed the establishment.
Outside the post office was written: When it is time to pay you, she is on the phone, and when it is time to serve you she has gone.
Outside the only bar I have never been into (and apparently with good reason): They are always shouting here, so the customers have no option but to disappear.
There were others of a more friendly nature, but let’s face it, brutal controversy beats namby pamby affection every time.
Local opinion is divided between those who think they are the harmless high jinks of youth, and those that consider it an outright abomination. One gentleman in particular was very vocal on the subject, as back in his day it was a thing all the village boys did to mark their departure for military service. Now that is no longer the case, he considers it to be a frivolous, as well as meaningless, gesture.
I, however, find myself falling into the pro-graffiti camp. I can’t remember what I did to celebrate my eighteenth birthday, but as I was in England at the time, it almost certainly involved getting very drunk and possibly also peeing on a war memorial or something similarly antisocial.
Surely a bit of cutting edge, yet strangely philosophical poetry on the street is a distinct improvement… 😉
This is Status Viatoris, wishing the youngsters a very happy 18th. Make the most of it Kids, for soon you’ll be decrepid and cantankerous. And despite going to bed long before midnight, sleep will remain elusive; chased away by your dog’s insatiable bladder, your pipistrelle’s disco moves and the early onset of dementia.