I enjoy observing the world continue without me. I have a talent for the things ghosts would excel at. Venice is the perfect place to indulge this character flaw. I especially enjoy watching the taxi gondola which ferries passengers from one side of the Grand Canal to the other. The male passengers are expected to stand. It’s a kind of macho thing. You have to be nonchalant, even when the boat is buffeted by the wake of water traffic, as if you’re simply standing in line at a cash point machine. Once there was a fat man who caught me looking at him. Half way across, the gondola was rocked by the waves made by a barge and I could sense his body’s need for some kind of rail to hold onto. I felt his precarious equilibrium in my own arms and legs. I sympathised with him. I preferred him to the nonchalant men.