Friday, August 27

Racing Stripes

I now know for sure that Zebras are black with white stripes and not the other way around.  And I figured it out from the pedestrian crosswalk conundrum currently stumping the greatest thinkers of our modern Roman times.
I remember a time both in Italy and in the USA, when it seemed they painted the stripes on the asphalt, never to be seen or heard from again.  Ten years or so would pass, and there they'd be, those crews out there, making their indelible marks, vigilantly guarding the fresh paint so it would not be overrun by black tires.  And there they'd stay.
the freshly painted stripes
The last couple of years, it looked as though Rome was going through a major renovation; those crews, often working at night, seemed to appear every so often; like once or twice a year in my mind.  No sooner had they left than those white lines would fade into the asphalt horizon, like a tumbleweed in the desert.
It seems that this very 'Italian job' did not go unnoticed.
Take a look at the other pictures displayed on Roma Fa Schiffo (Rome sucks) and the problem isn't just limited to my little quarter of the world.
Turns out, someone on the City commission started to notice.  According to the law, each citizen has a right to have well-marked crosswalks in their neighborhood (ours meanwhile are just a thing of the past). So he pushed the issue. He found that the Company responsible for paint was using simple wax; which with the first rays of sunshine and tire tracks, just faded away like a candle in the wind.
Complaining all the louder, he then found in his mailbox - not white street paint powder in an envelope - but two bullets. He also found a crew repainting the stripes just outside his door. But only his.  I don't know what will be the outcome of this ruse, but his post has since been removed and the crews are still painting away - again & again.
As for the zebra, colors clearly dissipate in the hot summer sun, but since the animals don't turn all white, they surely must be black underneath.


Dave514 said...

If Italians would have done what they did in England they would have installed Belisha Beacons, that would have solved 99% of the problem. But then Italians haven;t got the nous.

That ought to stump 99% of you...LOL!!!


Alex said...

Same up here in Milan, Francesca.

Those stripes fade mighty quickly, which makes one suspect that there is a racket behind them.

Such is Italy!

Irreverent Italy said...

Okay, Davide - I give up (without googling first!)

Dave514 said...

I keep forgetting that you can look up almost anything on Google.

Jacob Hore-Belisha instituted pedestrian road crossings back in 1934. They consisted of the zebra strips you complain of PLUS to black and white striped posts with an orange dome placed on opposite sides of the crossing on the pavement diagonally opposed to each other. This then clearly and permanently marked out the pedestrian crossing to both motorists and people alike and to hell with the paint problems.

Un abbraccio forte,


Dave514 said...

Forgot, Hore-belisha was Transport minister back in '34.


TonyD said...

The zebras actually have black skin and cover themselves in white wax to prevent the lions from eating them. When the wax melts off, the lions eat them.

Unlike the leone italiano, when the lion in the jungle rears its head, the animals fear ...and respect it.

mmtmrb said...

good story!