|So there's a strike? Relax and have a cappuccino!|
Ad esempio: last Tuesday, as I approached the train station on my way to Rome, a woman handed me a flyer announcing a Cgil (trade union) strike that would occur on Friday: trains, buses and trams in Rome would be affected. Fair warning. I knew to avoid going to Rome that day. However, I did make plans to go to Rome on Sunday, for the birthday festivities going on this weekend. Later, as I was reading an online Florence giornale (newspaper), I noticed that a national transport strike was planned for Sunday, affecting travel throughout Italy. However, there was no mention of it in any of Rome's online giornali. I did an online search, and found that, indeed, a strike was planned from 9pm on Saturday until 9 pm on Sunday. It was also publicized on the Trenitalia train system website. But no mention of it in Rome's newspapers. Why? Was Rome exempting itself from the strike plans? Since it's quite odd for a strike to be scheduled for a Sunday, I decided to take a chance and go ahead with my plans to take the train at 8 a.m. Sunday morning. But when I arrived at the train station, the train to Rome was sorpresso, that is, cancelled. Other trains were running, but no train to Rome! I chatted with some men about it, telling them that I'd read there would be a sciopero. They didn't seem surprised or even curious: if anything, they seemed resigned. For Italians, an unannounced strike is par for the course. They happen, and you're stuck where you are. Nothing to do but deal with it.
No going to Rome today. Instead, I got back in the car and headed over to Frascati, and had a wonderful time roaming the streets of this lovely village on a quiet Sunday morning. Plenty of time for caffè and a pastry. Maybe this is what strikes are really all about...messing up your plans so you can find something better to do! Ingenious!