Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Funiculi' Funicula'

Today I took the funicolare with La Bimba, La Nonna, my friend C., her two kids, and their babysitter. C. is an American living in Naples and my next door neighbor. We were bemoaning the stroller situation at the Corso Vittorio Emanuele stop of the funicolare centrale, which is just steps from our doors. You see, the entrance to the funicolare has a long curving flight of wide steps and an electric chair...not the kind Americans are still frying people in (or is it all lethal injection now? Anyway, don't get me started on the death penalty...), the kind that a wheelchair can roll onto (guess it's more of a platform than a chair, attached to the banister) and descend to the train. Of course, once there, there are steps up and down to the various doors of the train, so a wheelchair-bound person has to wait at the bottom of the entrance stairs, possibly feeling in the way of those trying to get around, not that anyone is concerned about their feelings, obviously. I have never seen anyone use the platform and have never tried to use it for the stroller. I carry the stroller down with La Bimba inside. Others bump their strollers down. If you ask one of the guys working at the funicolare to open the wide exit door to let you in since your stroller doesn't fit through the turnstyle (is that how you spell it?), he will tell you to remove the child from said stroller, fold it up, child squirming in your arms, knapsack slipping off your shoulder, and carry everything through the turnstile (is that how you spell it?), down the stairs, and onto the train. May I just say, Fuck That?

The exit of the funicolare centrale is even more disturbing. Here we have the same steps that lead you to the train doors, but then there is a ramp, a lovely, smooth, marble ramp to glide your stroller along and out the door except, except, at the end of the ramp, just shy of the door to the street, there is ANOTHER FLIGHT OF STEPS. A steep flight and no ascending platform. I suppose someone in a wheelchair has to exit through the entrance side doors and squeeze through the crush of entering passengers.

I'm sorry. I just don't understand. Why even bother with the ramp if it leads to a flight of stairs? Why have an automatic wheelchair carrier if it's only on one side of the station (and did I mention it is often being repaired?)? I can just see the station builders: half way through the construction of the space they just shrug their shoulders, thrust out their chins, and say in unison, "Basta! We're tired of making this ramp. Let's just throw up some stairs and go home for lunch."

The Nonni go home tomorrow, and Thursday morning, when La Bimba peers into the living room and finds the sofabed folded back up, no sleeping Nonni inside, no tufts of grey hair poking through the duvet cover, I think she will be sad. At least she still has her helium-filled Tweety Bird balloon (Milly Duck in Italian) to look for on the ceiling. Tweety scares her, but she is also fascinated by him.

We went to a carnevale party at another American expat mom's house. I half-heartedly dressed up La Bimba in her Little Red Riding Hood outfit, threw a red kerchief on her head, made her into a Russian Peasant Meets Little Red Riding Hood.

I guess you could say I was half-assed about it. The pot calling the kettle black. I don't know what that means since I never did acid and thus never saw a pot talking to a kettle. But if the shoe fits...it takes one to know one...the apple doesn't fall far from the tree... Basta!


Delina said...

I didn't know Tweety was Milly Duck in Italian. I didn't know Tweety was a man either, always thought of Tweety as being female. mmm One to ponder.

Shirley said...

Hi,I have just found you from Delina's Blog. Your posts are so funny. I have spent quite alot of time in Naples as my husband is Neapolitan, though he left when he was 15,he has alot of family still there. Don't know if I could live there,it drives me nuts after a few days, you are very brave!

rompipalle said...

Thanks, Shirley! I'm not sure it's bravery; more like cognitive dissonance.

Michellanea said...

Hi rompi!
Well I'd say that the electronic chair thing is probably one of those half-assed jobs you see around (on my blog I wrote about a walkway for the blind that had big poles/obstacles in the middle of it!) that the builders were paid for but didn't actually complete -to pocket the excess money, of of course. Our tax euros at work!