There is a dog couple accompanying us on our journey through the streets and alleys of the city. The boy is white, the girl looks a little like a shepherd dog. I’m looking at them fondly as they kiss or sniffs each other from time to time. Usually, the white dog brings its mouth close to her nose or ears to lick her gently. It looks blissfully as they walk with us and sit when we stop for a while.
I notice a Sicilian girl in knee-high boots while we are still in sandals on our bare feet, because of the temperature.
– Hahaha, omöjligt ! They probably feel it’s cold in here! Oh yeah! It’s Autumn actually, but really?
– Yes, October means Autumn, definitely. Look, she is wearing a jacket!
– And did you notice, there were jackets on display in those boutiques around, the quilted ones, you know… How strange the world could be?! I really can’t believe!
– And finally I noticed a girl in here! I though there weren’t any in the whole city. I just started to wonder if they were locked home or something…
– Look, she is walking proudly with a pleasure, to show off her boots. She exploits the opportunity to try the new winter style! Amazing!
”Salotti buoni”[IT] [the good salons] – the places locals go to be seen [”per farsi vedere” IT] – it could be the old market, antic square or just an alley with luxury shops or coffeehouses, it doesn’t matter. The only purpose is to show your style and charm. This Sicilian girl is beautiful and stylish, like if she just came down from the catwalk. There is a habit that many Sicilians practice, to walk slowly even if it is only around the square in the evening, regardless of it is a workday or the weekend. Just to go out and walk, to see how other people walk the same, and to be seen there among them. It’s even not important to stop for a coffee, they don’t need such excuses. They just need to go out to show they are alive and in good shape, and that’s it.
I remember, how my Mom was telling me, that such habits used to be a part of everyday life also in my country. Life when time wasn’t passing so fast, but the feeling of passing time was more intense. They called it ”idę się przejść” meaning ”I’m going for a walk”, but it was exactly the same. The habit that people in my country used to have 60 years ago (which for me is only a pale history), is present here in Sicily in its full glory.
Meanwhile, the two dogs are having sex just in front of everybody. It’s such a natural thing. The white beau is on top of his girl and is holding her firmly with his paws. She seems pleased with that sudden act. Even if it’s their fifth time this day.
*see “The Lives of Animals” J.M. Coetzee