Salento. Puglia. August 2012.
From Torre San Giovanni to Torre Suda.
Every morning at the same time. By bicycle.
A red old-fashioned Fiat Cinquecento, carefully perfected and polished by its proprietor before being started. A big white-haired man with a large belly. An olive green Piaggio Ape driven by an old man sometimes in company with his diminutive wife that holds him tight. Maybe because of the room. Maybe because of love. A fucking yellow dog that every morning waits for me and runs after me barking, pulling the most shameful words out of my mouth. A man that looks after his garden wearing a straw hat, a pair of slippers and a bathing costume. A lady with her hair carefully done, decently dressed up, and as decently going to the mass every morning at half past seven. An old man that unsteadily walks a few metres away from the enclosure of his small house. To look at the sea. An old couple that stands on the rocks at seven o’clock, ready to enter the sea and swim. Side by side. Sometimes holding hands. A blue car full of young people certainly heading for work and that every time honk the horn screaming something that I can’t understand. A fifty-year-old man with a pregnant abdomen (with beer?) wearing only his bathing slip, sandals and sunglasses intent on walking along the pedestrian path, round trip, with a firm – almost military – step. Proud of his figure in the landscape. Three girls wearing a fashionable, black and white sport suit. Sunglasses. Hair band. Pony-tail. Headphones on their ears. The three Maries doing sport. One of them is very athletic and undoubtedly the most elegant. One less athletic but acceptable in any case. And the third one, poor girl, always the last in line, proceeding with heavy steps and not completely sure of her mission. And many other characters as well. Every morning. At the same time. With the sun placed exactly in the same point in the sky. And the shadows are as long as those of the day before. With the fragrance of figs alternating with that of rubbish with that of scorched soil. All absorbed in their life. And in the midst of all this flesh, this sea, these scents, with a blue poor quality bicycle, there I was: a forty-year-old woman spending her holidays at the seaside with her children, on a morning run. One hour of freedom, some room for my uninterrupted thoughts. As usual, searching for my purpose in life. But the true reason for which I kept on riding my bicycle on the same road at the same time is that one of the very first mornings I had a lucky encounter that turned into the goal of my daily cycling. My rendez-vous. The protagonist of a serial story that you will read later on. The person that inspired the theme of this issue and that is obviously its dedicatee: Antonio, dubbed “il Tony”, the motorized man.