Shop windows generally display an extended array of items, from food to magic tricks and everything in between. Their aim is to entice a passerby to buy a particular shop’s assortment through a skillful and elegant arrangement of the shops’ offers. This is their face, their business’ card and usually it guarantees the stores’ income.
The display becomes, in itself, a microcosm. A universe in a nutshell of everything that everyone wants. “Whatever you want, we can sell”, it says, like the genie in the bottle: make a wish, I deliver.
But what if you were to spot a living being slumbering nonchalantly among the objects you are considering to purchase? What if the display of the inanimate was to be suffused by the quiet exhalations of a four legged tyrant oblivious of the hundreds, maybe the thousands – we are in Venice after all – prying eyes “uhhhing and ahhhing” at its insolence?
Wouldn’t every other item you were previously looking at disappear in the exact same moment you realized that there is a cat calling a shop window home?
It will vanish, most definitely, I tell you. Whatever you were fascinated by in the display is already forgotten. As soon as you see the feline you will immediately be assaulted by the most uncontrollable urge to attract its attention, to revel in its eyes and coo at its beauty.
You will be soon disappointed though, first by its flat out refusal to give you the time of the day and you will incur in the mistake many a cat a passerby do whenever they chance upon a cat resting a shop display in Venice: you will knock on the glass.
This will gain you an annoyed look from the feline and a fed-up shop owner that will come out and point at the signboard with capital letters and exclamation marks that says: PLEASE DON’T KNOCK ON THE GLASS, WE ARE RESTING!
There is an exclusive club of famous “working felines” in Venice that rather enjoy displaying themselves for the world to admire. They certainly haven’t forgotten that once they were revered as gods and behave accordingly.
I you ever were to find yourself in front of a window with a feline in all its glory, please remember to look, admire, and respect its privacy.