There’s a special pride Italians have in their country, a pride that causes them to declaim loudly about the works of Michelangelo and da Vinci and gesture towards the Coliseo whenever their country is criticized— a quality that I appreciate, it’s wonderful to find people so proud of their country and it kind of reminds me of the Philippines, where we’re rabidly nationalistic whenever someone even dares complain about the smallest of things.
That said, something happened today that just made me nod in agreement with the ‘Roma fa schifo’ or ‘Rome Sucks’ movement (as if all the other things were not enough). A shipment sent to me from home— my one and only Filipiniana gown, hand-woven out of piña fiber, only worn once, and by far the most expensive and important item of clothing I own— was ‘stolen’ off a FedEx van while it was here in Rome. How did I find out? I called the 0.10 € / min hotline to ask why it was taking so long and ended up paying 3,10 € just to be told that my package was stolen and there’s nothing they can do about it except refund the sender the cost of shipping.
There’s nothing they can do about it. That’s a phrase I’ve heard so often in various forms, down to the double handed shrug with accompanying eh. Don’t have any more forms? Eh. Don’t have the insulin you need? Eh. We very irresponsibly let someone break into our FedEx van and decided not to tell you, maybe you’d not find out? Eh.
I’ve written about the shitty situation in Rome before, from the supreme difficulty of getting a residence permit, to the lack of assistance from university officials, to the public transportation issues, to the games the national health services makes you play, to the literal sidewalks full of shit (no post about that, too disgusting). I once took a photo of our garbage situation— a foothill of uncollected garbage literally ten steps from my front door— and an Italian man came up to me and tried to make me stop, saying this happens everywhere. That may be so, but if we all use that as an excuse nothing is going to happen! This situation with an international priority shipment being stolen off a FedEx van and I had to call them to find this out takes the cake.
There is a website dedicated to Roma fa schifo, oddly enough maintained and populated by Italians so there is some self-reflection going on here. I’m subscribed to it because it’s how I learn my colloquial Italian plus it’s gratifying to see that even Romans are fed up with the shittiness going on in their own city.
Below are some of my favourite Roma fa schifo posts so far, with their original captions posted underneath:
My own caption: This is Policlinico, the largest and most important hospital in Rome. This is the closest metro station to my place. There is nowhere to park, and getting off the tram is dangerous as there is nowhere to go— the white vans and illegal stalls line the sidewalk. There is no sidewalk. This particular building (because Policlinico is huge) houses the pediatrics department. What a welcoming sight for the children of Rome!
And one of my all-time favourites, just because I see it happen so often but am too embarrassed and/or disgusted for the person to take a photo:
Of course the Roma fa schifo website and Facebook page are updated multiple times a day (there’s just too much to see!) so if you’re interested in seeing the shittier side of Rome, the side that creeps up on us after the honeymoon period is over, do pay their website a visit.
Normally at this point I would mention the redeeming points Rome has to offer but it’s been a shitty week and I’m just not up for it.