Thursday, February 9

Internot: Snow Emergency

While the flurry of snowstorm response criticism continues to avalanche the airwaves, with everyone on all sides of the political spectrum participating in a virtual snowball fight, all I know is - as usual - it was the lowly Roman proletariat who got buried by the blizzard.  With schools shut down on perfectly clear days, parents scrambling for vacation days in order to stay home, Rome slowly came back to business as usual, aided by the typical Roman sunshine which did more to clean up the city than anything else the political sycophants could accomplish.
Even more incredible to me was the fact that, with everyone homebound for a full four days, why the cleanup crews weren't out in full force, repairing the pot holes left behind and removing all the downed branches from the street sides.  Virtually no one was on the roads (except Detroiters & Germans, by my calculations) so they could work effortlessly. Instead a (German) friend posted this terrific photo of the City's snow emergency response:  
pic from
just use googletranslate to read about Bettina's adventures in Rome
It's a reverse Home Depot strategy, whereby the supplies are supplied, but you have to put it together yourself. Strewn in the park near the Colosseum (and littering every so often the sidewalks around town), the city dumped salt, alright.  It's just that they left the salt in tidy plastic bags.  Those who dared walk their dogs could spread it around, just like the cute little Morton Salt Girl - except she was walking in the rain and her box only weighed 1 kilo.

A friend recounted, instead, his own response to counter the ineffectualness of our corporate & political overlords:
Trying to find out if trains leaving Rome for the suburbs would be running that fatal evening, he started following the FS Twitter Feed [Ferrovie dello Stato or TrenItalia since Italians are brand name challenged].  In fact, an astute tweeter started posting answers to the common query, Is my train running?

Dozens of messages were flowing in, and dozens more were coming out -- all of them stating the very same thing:  Go to this link to see about your train.
Problem was, the link went simply to the FS Home Page, which only gave (untimely) info on whether the trains from Rome to Milan were on schedule.  At the cost of that train ticket, talk about catering to the richest 1%.  More tweets.  More links.  For thousands of tech-savvy commuters, there was no way to know for sure, other than standing on a freezing train platform and hoping a train would arrive in under an hour or at all.
My friend, a content mngt professional, along with some buddies, starting bombarding the FS tweeter.  Trying to get him to stop chirping away and offer some real time info with real value for travelers.  Hours later, the automated tweets finally stopped.  The tweeter confessed: Although employed by Trenitalia to Tweet, it was his first time in the nest, so to speak, and he really hadn't earned his wings.  He had no real idea what was going on snow-wise, what to tweet, and how he could have been of any help.

We're now preparing for Friday's snowstorm.  Putting all his trust in the professionally negligent weathermen, the Mayor has already cancelled school for the day.  Of course, he will also state on Saturday, when it comes to having no salt on hand to cover the glistening roads, "I didn't know the storm was coming or would be so bad."  

My word of advice to my Italian friends?  Load up your car with kitty litter. It will get you out of anything, and then, enjoy yourself tooling around town to see Rome's beautiful white mantle - because no one else will be out on the roads.
As for Mayor Alemanno?  Take a cue from someone who knows what she's doing:  The Morton Salt Girl.
photo by Noemi de Santis


mmtmrb said...

Hilarious as usual!!!!

Irreverent Italy said...

According to yahoo weather all week, there is a chance of snow mixed with rain today (Friday). But by Tuesday, the Mayor cancelled all schools & offices. Restaurants stand empty, stores have never see worse business.
Thanks Mr. Mayor for putting an already weak economy right on its knees...

Anonymous said...

I am still suprised that Rome's moms did not bring their kids to Alemannos house!