Walking around my neighborhood as I am wont to do is often a wonderful experience, that is if you don't count my playing three times a day Doo-Doo Dodge'Em on the sidewalks: There are the old guys who hang out on the benches or in little groups talking - incessantly - about Lord knows what; the old ladies wheeling their carts to the mercato, the Bangladeshi green grocers and other dog owners with whom I always stop to say hello. In short, you get to know your little quartiere fairly well; with all its pox-marks and forlorn tree stumps lining my path.
So I was taken aback when rounding the corner, suddenly street signs had gone up, official yellow paint sprayed with a decisive cautionary aire down on the ground, and no cars in my midst - a rarity if there ever was one in Rome...The spanking new sign posted was still sans graffiti so I could read it: NO PARKING. TOURISM BUSES ONLY.
Taking up (or shall I say, taking away from us mere mortals) a full five, treasured, parking spaces -- while day in, day out, the street stands empty. And yet we're all afraid to park there. But the street waiting to host these phantasmagoric monoliths is quite wide. Wide enough, in fact, to allow passengers to alight every so often. That's because nearby, are the catacombs. And sometimes, around Easter, their parking lots are full.
My first thought was...of all the darned places? Just further on, in fact, there are miles of wide streets where none of us choose to park -- wide enough to hold countless numbers of monstrous buses (and Suvs for that matter...but, dream on...). So this entire fiasco wreaking havoc on our parking rhythms, reeked horribly of skunk.
So, I ventured over to the cabal of guys-on-a-park bench and pondered loudly, Isn't there something we can do to make them take this back? After all, Rome is famous for do-overs.
And then, the guys shared with me their very best conspiracy theories; a national pastime in Italy. But, I'm fairly certain this one was spot on:
Prior to the bus parking lane, huge trash containers were perched there. The residents had asked for them be removed as there were others nearby. No one listened. So, someone got the brainy idea to ask for a bus lane and Ecco Fatto! the horrible containers were gone; and along with them, so were the mountains of trash pulled out of them by the indefatigable hoards of gypsies...
So now, we're just waiting to put in the request to restore parking in that same spot for our cars and, gazillions of tax payer dollars later, all will be good in my corner of the world once again. Talk about Civic Duty.
And the bonus? I now know what all those guys are busy plotting each day.