For whatever goes wrong, blame the stabilimenti.
I'm too much of an amateur to have writer's block, so I blamed the heat for not writing anything in months. But it was just an excuse. Last week, it rained and I opened all the windows in my flat as well as the front door to create a fresh draft. It was so beautiful that it didn’t matter that the whole of Viale Marconi and the people in my condominio could see that I was walking around in my 99p unicorn knickers from Primark. But even though I had created this paradise of cool freshness, I wasn’t writing.
The heat was off the table, so I blamed something else.
My new justification was: It’s just hard to do things in Rome. There’s no such thing as simply calling the vaccines centre to make an appointment, because they are booked out until January 2020. So you have to come up with sneaky ways, like going to the ministry for poverty and migration where there’s a vaccines service. I wasn’t feeling too guilty about this because in the end I'm a migrant. The experience was unique, but that’s a story for another time. The point is it takes energy to find such alternatives. It's hard.
And then there are all the rules. Try making a BBQ in a public space in Rome. Try going outside to play basketball. Try going down a slide at the water park with your necklace on. Yeah, risky business when you’re in Rome. Because rules.
Rules and regulations are things I get associated with a lot by people who base their assumptions on the fact that I'm Swiss. But when I say "In Rome, there are a thousand times more ru-", I don’t even get any further, because the person I’m talking to already “See, see how Swiss you are!”-s me.
Anyway, doing normal stuff here takes up a lot of energy, ergo it leaves you empty and dead to produce anything creative. Like when after four months of producing acceptable sketches during drawing class, all of a sudden you angrily erase what looks like a pizza but was supposed to be someone’s head.
And there is one concept that represents the let’s-invent-rules-to-make-life-a-misery-ideology more than any other: The stabilimento.
The stabilimento, a devious invention that obliges you to pay for accessing the beach, forces you to purchase either a parasol or a sun lounger (10 Euro each, more than a person makes an hour here, to use a parasol. A PARASOL). Sometimes you get charged a service fee on top of that.
As the prices of said sun loungers increase every year, the space between them decreases in a proportional manner, as if subject to a dreadful mathematical formula. So when you spray on your sun protection, your neighbour and his neighbour can profit from whatever comes out of your bottle because they most certainly will be in its spray-range.
The free beach area (the five metres of sand right next to where the river flushes the sewage into the sea) and the wonderful, wide, free and happy beaches (left alone like they were always meant to be but only accessible by car) are the stabilimento’s only challengers.
But the most concerning thing about these beaches - intended to be spaces of freedom and peace and instead invaded by the autocracy that is the stabilimento - is one new rule I came across last weekend: “No towels on the floor”. That’s not a joke. It’s seriously forbidden to place your towel on the sand and sit on it. On a beach.
Now that is so ridiculous that I don’t even feel like I have to explain my “it’s hard to do things in Rome” sentiment any longer, nor the resulting absence of anything new written on this blog. But given this article, it might just be an excuse, again.