Archive for October, 2014
Here’s some news on sick leave in Italy: There’s a lot of it, especially on Monday.
Today is Monday, as it happens, which is why I bring this up.
A recent statistical analysis reveals that more than 30 percent of workers in the public sector have availed themselves of a doctor who will certify that they aren’t able to come to work that day, the day being Monday, as I mentioned, or what they might prefer to call Sunday 2.0.
In Calabria, the numbers collected for 2012 showed an average number of 34.6 sick days; “average,” of course, means that some people took even more. This number doesn’t specifically say that that month was made up exclusively of Mondays, but we can suppose that at least ten of them were.
Whether this indicates that the environment at the toe of the Italian “boot” is extremely unhealthy, or that there are so many wonderful things to do there that a mere weekend isn’t enough to enjoy even a few of them, I am not qualified to say.
I do have some theories, but will leave you to your own conjectures.
Walking along my favorite leafy arbor — otherwise known as viale Garibaldi — one recent afternoon, I glanced at one of the benches.
Something was sitting on it, and it wasn’t a human, though a human had evidently passed that way only recently.
It was a stately cone crowned with chocolate gelato, chastely wrapped in a white paper napkin, and stuck between the slats like a creamy little moa from Easter Island, but much more fragile. While it’s true that the seething elements of time and tide will eventually reduce everything to nothing, this delicacy had a head start on almost all of us.
As I gazed at it, still musing, I heard the softest little thnk.
There had been no heroic struggle. When the meltage reached the perfect point of intersection with gravity, divided by its own weight and volume and the distribution of same (I’m losing track of my geometry here), the brave, if brief, little monument succumbed. And I continued on my way.
Ten minutes later, I returned. The bench was still occupied, but not by the cone and its liquefying burden.
The cone was gone. A man was sitting on the bench, talking to a woman standing in front of him. He didn’t seem concerned about sticky drying ice cream, because there was no sign of it. Apparently only I knew it had ever been there.
Let me review: A gelato-topped cone is placed on a bench by an unseen person, for unfathomable reasons (unfathomable because there are two garbage cans within a few steps of the bench). The cone collapses. A man sits on the bench by the now unseen cone.
Which was real, the unseen man or the unseen cone? And while I’m thinking about it, is ice cream essentially more transitory than the man?
Let me think.
The frozen milk awaits
Heat and heft combine a kiss
Life essence disperses.
More on the meaning of life around here when I find the time.