Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Can they really be so stupid?

Living in Italy drives you so crazy sometimes that you just want to bang your head against a wall. The most simple things are so difficult, so often people here - especially in the public system - just lack respect. Italian wages for the private sector are terribly low, those in the public are considerably higher and they also get many perks, so there is no reason for them to be bitter, lazy people but generally that is what public workers are. I am generalising of course so if you are reading this, and work in the Italian  public system then don't take offence. Take offence only if you are that man, that lazy, stupid, rude man who works at the train station in Cosenza Centro.

Today I had a split shift at work. Thankfully I did not have to go and teach the wild children from the scuola media, instead I taught 1 lesson in the morning and 1 in the afternoon. No problems, I thought. I'll just get the trenino as usual and have plenty of free time to spend with bel fidanzato and bel bambino. Our village, Malito, is not far from Cosenza. About a 30 minute drive at most. We have a car but I prefer to get the trenino which is a little train that goes through the mountains until reaching the centre of Cosenza. I normally drive to the train station in a neighbouring town, leave the car and relax on the ugly little train for 30 minutes. It is cheap and convenient since my work is only a 5 minute walk away.

Today, I finished work at 10am and was waiting for the 10.35 train. I was just sitting there, reading a book as I was early. Thankfully an old woman decided to strike up conversation because she told me that the 10.35am train had been cancelled due to the school holidays. I was furious! I had been sitting there for a while before this old lady told me this. I was not angry and her, but at the fact that there were a few of us waiting ignorantly for a train and none of the station staff bothered to tell us the train was not coming.

I marched across the tracks and up to the ticket office. I was fuming, and tapped at the little window and asked if the train was cancelled. The stupid, lazy man working there said yes, it was cancelled due to school holidays. What does school holidays have to do with this train? School finishes at 1.30pm so students never get this train. We, the workers get this train! Sorry, but there is no train. Well, where is that written? Where is the notification? Surely you are obliged to advise the public of the change in timetable.

I was really yelling now (I must say I speak very good Italian when I am angry) and there was a gang of people behind me, all edging me on. With support behind me I continued to yell at the man. I don't loose my temper in public often and when I do I say things I shouldn't, but I told this man that he was lazy and that there were many of them working there so why could no one be bothered to hang up a simple sign. I told him I had a little baby at home waiting for me, and now I was going to be late. He was a very bad actor who tried to look as though he cared. An old person behind me told him to call the bus station to see if the buses were cancelled, but oh no, he could not do that as they were busy.

Really, life is simple. If the train timetable is changed due to school holidays then stick up a stupid sign. This man had obviously been explaining the situation to unhappy travellers all day, but had it occurred to him to resolve the situation in a simple, easy way? No.

At least my public display of craziness paid off as on my way back into Cosenza this evening, I noted the letter taped to the ticket booth window with the updated train timetable. But does it really take a screaming Australian to make this happen?


Gil said...

Only in Italy! About as bad as the toll collector, in Naples, too busy watching football on his little Tv to take my money....

Happy Easter.

LindyLouMac said...

Oh dear! Have a Happy Easter, stress free hopefully :)

Anonymous said...

I can't believe what I just read ... you would think it was the end of the world. So a train got cancelled, you weren't told you might have got more help if you hadn't been so rude ..... did you really need to yell at him !!!

Leanne was in Italy now in Australia said...

Hi Gil,
I can just imagine those toll collectors when it was soccer season!

Hi LindyLouMa,
Easter was very stress free.

Hi Anonymous,
Perhaps you don't have a 3 month old baby waiting for you at home...if you did then maybe you would understand how the cancelling of a train could turn into a big problem. And the main thing was that it wasn't spur of the moment, this cancellation it had been planned which was why I was angry and yelled! And by the way, had I not yelled and been rude then the sign would never have been put up, warning other poor travellers.

Anonymous said...

i do belive you !! of course things are like this in italy, didnt you know before going? italy is third word, 3rd!!!!!!!!!!!!