When in Rome, strike as the Romans do

Even schools are on strike today in Italy!

Italy's biggest Labor union, the CGIL has called a general strike today. The frequent strikes in Italy never used to bother me. Given my general feeling about the work ethic in Italy, I assumed they felt like having a long weekend and used the sciopero as an excuse to catch up on beauty sleep.

No public transport? Who cares! I'll walk or ride my bike.

No posta? Good, one less nasty bureaucrat I'll have to deal with today.

Alitalia on strike? Pffft, I'd be crazy to book a flight with them in the first place.

No school?? Now you've got my attention. Yesterday the teacher of my kid's elementary school warned us: "We may come to school, but it's possible the cafeteria workers will strike so if that is the case the doors will be closed and that is how you will know there is no school." Oh, great.

It was an anxiety-ridden walk along the four blocks to school this morning. To my relief, the doors were open and it appeared as though it was business as usual. While sending the little one into the class, however, the teacher said "We're here, and judging from the smell of stewing vegetables it looks as though the cafeteria workers are here as well. But it is possible that the afternoon teachers will strike, and if that happens we will call you and tell you to come and get the children right away."

Hmm, that makes it kind of hard to plan a day at the office of conducting tours of Vatican City now doesn't it? Well, if worst comes to worse I can always start training the children to lead the tours of Vatican City. After all, it's about time they start earning their keep!

Living in Italy takes a lot of patience.

Published on March 12th, 2010
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