Wednesday, April 14, 2021
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Home World Memories from the underground: an impossible interview with a Roman manhole

Memories from the underground: an impossible interview with a Roman manhole


Not having had time to arrive in Suez before the Egyptian diligence and the favor of the moon managed to free the cargo ship Evergreen, we threw ourselves headlong into the other great story of the week: that of the Boccea manhole.

The background is known: reported by a Twitter account as completely sealed by the bitumen of recent road works, and therefore useless as a manhole, the victim rose to prominence for having been awkwardly retouched on Photoshop by the lively Grillino councilor Paolo Ferrara who then justified the (unsuccessful) attempt to deny bad maintenance as a simple irony.

At this point it was a question of finding the object of the dispute, the manhole, which after some vain search on the web, was reached in person by going directly to the busy street in the north-western quadrant of the capital. Well, after a series of inspections on the recently paved stretch, the poor manhole was spotted shortly after the intersection with Via Gregorio XI, at street number 223, near a bank branch and other retail shops.

The manhole actually lies inert and completely sealed by the bitumen. Just softened by a few pink petals, fallen from the nearby Siliquastro, the characteristic Roman tree that blooms in March, also known as the “Judas tree”. We tried to ask him some questions.

The first: did you understand that the workers were making a big mistake?
Answer of the manhole: yes, I also tried to explain it to him but I think they were men from Eastern Europe, probably from a sub-contractor, as unfortunately often happens.

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Would you prefer Roman workers?
Well, as for the cobblestones, it was better when local laborers, at most burini, did the job of the road, certainly we understood each other better.

But the mayor is very Roman. He also lives not very far from here.
I know, my manhole near by, the one under the garbage cans, told me.

Has he been paved too?
No, he has almost all of the grids free but he has other problems. Sewage and garbage bags for example.

Didn’t such mistakes happen before, with other mayors?
Certainly, to err is human. Semmai continue …

Do you know Latin?
A few words, a manhole in the center, my friend, taught me, I wanted to know what SPQR means.

Senatus Populus Que Romans, the senate and the Roman people …
Yes but also Sapiens Populus Quaerit Roman. A wise people love Rome.

It is not so?
Do you see essays around? And I see people, day and night, trust me.

But let’s go back to the incident that concerns you, how do you feel like this? Like a former manhole?
Well it’s not good to be without a purpose in life. Not even from manholes. And now it’s sunny, but when it rains it will be even worse. Not being able to do your job, feeling useless, is quite degrading. I hope my neighbors, friends, and co-workers don’t go overboard with the pussies, but I already know it will be inevitable. We are in Rome.

Yeah, anyway … do you know he’s become a symbol of politics? The manhole retouched on social networks. The icon of politics that tweaks reality to one’s liking for voters now more and more loyal than citizens, who have abandoned the critical spirit for cheering.
How about Rome and Lazio?

Exact.
Bah, a big nose friend (typical cast iron fountain, ed) on the Aurelia nearby he described the scenes of people when the Roma bus passes by, to go to the stadium. But I can’t tell you more, I don’t know what social media are and I’m not interested in politics. I’m just a manhole, indeed I was.

I’m not saying this to please her, but it seems she is not alone, they tell of other manholes in her condition.
Really? Then we should try to get in touch, network. Try to change something.

Do you want to found a party? She said politics didn’t interest her.
Not a party, that’s all a magna magna. We should come up with something else. Maybe a movement.

A movement of the former manholes?
Something like that. Where all manholes are worth the same. With attention to urban planning, infrastructure and ecology. He doesn’t know how many leaves I’ve had to deal with myself. I got some culture. Speaking of culture, I would like to add one thing.

You are welcome.
Now they call us that but the more exact term would be dead ends. The manholes are small artificial tunnels where trains pass. They are made of reinforced concrete, not cast iron.

Thank you for the clarification.
Imagine, it was a pleasure.



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