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.
Please be aware however that just two days later I did the same walk and it was MUCH cleaner. Though, I do wonder for how long. Also as you watch and look at the videos and photos, be aware of not just the ugly and the bad but also aware of all the natural good and beauty that surrounds it. I believe it is sometimes part of our Human plight that we can’t always see the good and beauty that is present to us daily. Many of us find it easier and more accommodating with our long and busy schedules to sometimes assimilate, accept and justify political and corporate criminality, general crimes, and at times become complacent to much of the bad and the ugly—I believe we all have a little of ‘futtitinni’ in us, I guess we just must remember to step outside of our circles for a bit and maybe see that a slight balance adjustment of mind and heart is needed in order for an albeit slow but sure shift from a ‘futtitinni’ to a ‘lasciamo pulita la nostra citta’’ (from a who cares to let’s keep our city clean)! Bagheria is a beautiful place even more beautiful when kept clean!
Read the captions in the pictures below and learn more about what the futtitinni philosophy taken to an extreme does to natural beauty.