Tuesday, May 12, 2009
The Agony and the Ecstacy
You know the one good thing about being in Europe is that when it comes to beggars, it’s not going to be black people doing it, at least in general. That’s because most black people are immigrants who have left wherever they are from in search of a better life, so the desire to beg is not really on the agenda. In fact as in New York City, many unskilled immigrants will tend to sell merchandise on the streets, often without a license. I’ve noticed that was what they were doing in it Rome. Young boys who would sell faux designer hand bags and other things and were often kept on the move as they were chased by the police over their wares. The Carabinieri would drive up outside the Vatican walls where many of these sellers were and with sirens blaring, drive after the long legged boys at a terrific rate of speed scattering them in all directions. It was like a case of ”run Forrest run” but with some color.
I remember seeing a story about this on 60 minutes late last year but I didn’t take much notice at the time. Apparently the police really aren’t concerned in arresting them, but more interested in keeping them moving from one area to another. It is a sort of dance of fools.
The real beggars are the ones that you’ll find outside of the Vatican or the Rome’s Central Terminal where they got me a couple of times. These are usually gypsies that hang out at the train stations looking for handouts for food. The ones at the Vatican are the cripples and I don’t mean to be PC. I’m not talking about the disadvantaged that have a touch of carpal tunnel or irritable bowel syndrome. I’m talking about old school cripples, the ones with limbs that point in five different directions east of Sunday, the ones that make you think this must be a scene in a biblical epic just waiting for Charlton Heston to come and save the day as they lay on the sidewalks with outstretched arms crying with tears in some incomprehensible form of babble.
It’s funny though, you would think that if you were a cripple and you are at the same spot that St Peter was killed and buried, you would be able to get some sort blessing that would cure you of your ails. I mean, if you can’t get healed there by the Holy Father then you can’t get healed anywhere. Anyway, I would show pictures of those people but I thought it would have been too much of an intrusion to take pictures of people in a dire moments of their lives while I stepped over them feeling uncompelled to share a few cents with them, so here are some other pictures of the area.