Friday, February 2, 2007

Dude, where's my car?

Today our car was towed, not because it was parked illegally, but because evidently the comune needed to make some money. The baristas on Corso Vittorio Emanuele said they started towing at 7am and finished up around 1:30pm, just in time to head home to mamma for lunch. If Naples were simply lawless, across the board lawless, that would be challenging, annoying, exasperating...yet freeing. But the fact that there are laws and that they are applied willy nilly, that's just petrifying. You never know when the powers that be are going to decide to nail you, so you live in mild to massive fear of being, well, nailed, like Jesus to the cross. You stand in front of the police officer wailing, "Why hast thou forsaken me today instead of yesterday or tomorrow?"

The baristas and I chatted about why Naples is the way it is. It seems to boil down to a complete and utter lack of civic responsibility. Neapolitans are fiercely proud of their culture, but do not feel that the spaces outside their private homes belong to them. All those invasions -- Goths, Bourbons, Spanish, McDonald's -- left the locals feeling oddly isolated from the streets they walk on, drive on, spit on. Peer into any basso on any day and you will find a napoletana scrubbing her floors, walls, appliances, and children until you could eat off them and then toss her cigarette butt, crumpled cigarette pack, and spent lighter onto the street in front of her door. She will have to walk into the litter she created, her children will play in it, her dog will eat it. It seems completely insane if you don't know Neapolitan history. To be frank, it seems completely insane even if you do.

So, The Husband spent my birthday (yes, me and Punxsutawny Phil are special today) unsequestering the car. On the up side, my American neighbor C. baked me a cake! An American cake, yellow with chocolate frosting. I was truly touched. I plan to nibble on it all night long, leave The Husband a slice, pretend that there had been only two slices. Moderation is everything.

My father told me he doesn't like the profanities in my blog. This from a man whose favorite author is Henry Miller. Watch out, Dad! I'm blogging you!