It’s a part of the Sicilian philosophy of life. It’s part of what makes the island so raw and beautiful; however, I believe sometimes that philosophy can be detrimental when taken too far. When we are dealing with the so-called garbage of life the process of Letting Go can be very therapeutic but, as with many things, a balance must be found. I am speaking garbage. I am speaking literal garbage.
I wrote and created a video about ‘U Rittufilu’, (which literally means the straight line), the street that takes you from Bagheria, Sicily to its smaller territory known as the town of Aspra. I posted it last summer. The via was a little cleaner or at least that was my impression-- maybe I had been in Sicily for so long that I too, like many inhabitants, didn’t see the garbage along the via which is officially named Corso Scaduto.
Sicily, specifically the town of Bagheria, in the past year or so has gotten much better with their garbage situation.
Today, Bagheria has gotten rid of the giant garbage dumpsters that sat on the streets and changed to a scheduled pick up garbage service where recycling is done--it’s working! However, I have to add a however, there aren’t many smaller garbage bins along the walkways and streets which unfortunately motivates the people who already live with a futtitinni philosophy to throw their trash on the street. That trash is eventually picked up/swept up and the streets are clean until the next day where again the trash is thrown on the streets, and the cycle repeats itself. I wonder if the ‘cestini’ (garbage bins) were to be added, Sicilians would eventually be discouraged to throw their trash on the streets. I say eventually because here in Sicily change or I should say mentality changes at a snail’s pace, so slowly that it almost doesn’t change at all yet in the midst of this very slow paced psychological change are very fast technological and sociological changes—everyone has a cellphone and a new pseudo intellectual group has grown where they all have a Moscow Mule in one hand, a rolled cigarette in another and a new furry friend by their side. Yet, the cigarette and their pet’s feces are left on the street and the napkin that came with their drink lies nearby.