One evening in a pub while at university a friend started a conversation about “movie moments” – those perfect moments of your life that feel like they belong on the silver screen. As it turned out, most of the moments the other people present described were fairly tame and non-movie-like, although I guess they felt kind of cool to that person at the time (I mean, none of their moments involved outrunning an explosion in slow motion or anything like that…).
At the time I couldn’t really think of a sufficiently movie-like moment from my own life (I’m no good under pressure – I always come up with the witty comeback or apposite anecdote hours later, when everyone’s gone home), but, if asked again now, this is the moment I’d describe:
January 1999, Venice. I was in Italy for a couple of weeks, visiting my new girlfriend (later to become my new wife). She showed me the sights of Genoa, then took me to Portofino, Florence, and Venice (this is what people used to call “courtship”). Being tourists in Venice for the first time, of course we had to take a ridiculously overpriced gondola ride. After half an hour threading our way through the canal equivalents of back alleys and side streets, we finally emerged onto the Grand Canal. As we made our way downstream from the Rialto bridge, a vaporetto transporting freshly-arrived tourists from the train station to St Mark’s square passed us. I chose this moment to lean across and plant a large wet kiss on my companion.
Behind me, I heard all the tourists standing on the ferry say “Ahhh!”