The politics of this city have been particularly distressing these last months, but we finally got a few good laughs yesterday. Papers and tweets gleefully reported the strange case of piles of old fridges left out on the streets of Rome all over town, more or less near the ubiquitous overflowing garbage cans, and left to rust and rot under the season’s alternating rainfalls and sunshine.
In the course of an interview, our Mayor was quoted as bringing it up and being very perplexed about the situation, “there are really too many of them. Seems strange to me…”. Loosely translated: “it sounds like a conspiracy against me”. The new municipal governing team is still motionless and trying to make head or tail out of what this city is all about, and local culture has always been strong on blaming things on someone else. These politicians (?) may be new and also younger on average, but culture is thicker than blood. So nobody’s going to acknowledge that their own ineptness and lack of policies so far on any issues have anything to do with the city’s increasingly worsening ills.
Huge potholes, hundreds of thousands of private sales of apartments blocked for a lack of interpretation/application of regulations, green traffic limitations in limbo, double-parkers on a rampage as nobody gets fined for anything anymore etc.
At least” frigo-gate” has spawned a wealth of good natured ribbing on Twitter and elsewhere to lighten the overall foul mood of the season. One of my favourites is “Mattresses, sofas and fridges in the streets. The Capital has become an open-air hotel – but at least it’s a 5 star hotel!”. If you’re not laughing, it means you’re either a supporter with no sense of humour, or you’re not familiar with things Italian, so just google the name of the upstart new party in power.
The day after her initial accusation of a conspiracy, the Mayor retracted, as she found out – over 4 months after the fact- that the garbage collecting company discontinued the free pick-up service for large furniture and kitchen appliances last June 18. The Mayor says nobody knows why.
Anyway, the kerfuffle caused the comedian-turned-head-of-party to fly in to succor the damsel in distress. He descended Superman-like on the venerable historical seat of the Campidoglio, the original Citadel of the earliest Romans – later re-vamped by Michelangelo – that had seen it all before, though probably nothing as arcane as a fridge conspiracy.
Apart from things humourous, another reason living in Rome is still bearable despite all the chaos, is that weather here is great. Rome is famous for its excellent weather.
The Milanese claim they’re more organized in their own fiefdom, and it’s hard to contest, but the overall greyness and drab light that envelops their buildings and streets can challenge even the most upbeat dispositions. I tried to look up “climate of Milan” and my search-engine replied there was no such thing.
If you want to go with statistics, here in Rome we have some 230 or so days a year with sunshine. Or more precisely, some 2500 hours. The fact is, today’s a rainy drag, but no worries: it’s never dark and wet and depressing for more than a day or so at a time, so tomorrow will be glorious.
Once you’ve understood that, you bear the increasingly violent climate-change downpours and resulting flashfloods and hellisher-than-usual traffic gridlocks with philosophy, knowing that the next morning will almost certainly dawn with a fantastic rosey-orangey palette of colours worthy of any Great Master.
Photos: fridge: eBay; potholes: en.wikipedia.org; 5 stars: cliparts.co/five-stars; Rome sunrises © 14thcountry.com