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Gia-Gina Across the Pond

So I've decided to follow my husband to his native Italy. Follow our adventures as we eat, drink, travel, adapt to and explore this remarkable country. Part food blog, part photo blog but mostly my rants and raves. After our two years in Italy, we relocated across the Atlantic "pond" and are back in the States.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Good Cop? Bad Cop?

Today as Deme and I weaseled our way through traffic running errands on the moped/motorino, we noticed some traffic cops hassling a man who had parked his bike in the ambulance zone of a hospital. (We were also on our way to the hospital as I was in need of having a blood test done.) As we drove around in circles looking for a place to park the moto, Deme took it upon himself to berate the traffic guys for giving the man, (not an Italian) a hard time. I was helpless to do anything about it as I watched and listened to Deme hash it out with both traffic guys. My DH saw it as an abuse of power of a public official and wanted to let them know that they were being unfair. The conversation went something like this:

Deme: “You guys should be ashamed of yourselves. Why don’t you give tickets to the guys who have doubled parked on a one way street 3 feet away instead of hassling this guy.”

Traffic Guy: “Why do you care, mind your own business, he is parked in the ambulance zone and that is illegal.”

D: “Don’t you have anything better to do than to hassle people? You are such a buffoon.”

TG: “You cannot call a public official that, I take offense to that. I am going to give you a ticket right now.”

D: “Go ahead, write me a ticket, if you are a public official, give me your name and ranking.” They guy does not give him the info. and they proceed to go back and forth, arguing. We did not get a ticket, yet…

TG: “Why don’t you come and meet me here at 2 pm after my shift and we can settle it then.” I did not think this was a good plan on either part. At this point I was signaling to Demetrio that I wanted to leave and just get out of there.

Eventually, a bystander came up to Deme, patted him in the arm and said “Let it go, let it go, you were right.”

We left without further incident but I got nervous as both men were face to face for some time. I did not catch all the details of the conversation but could not help but feel sorry for the guy who was harassed. Were the traffic guys singling him out? I am not sure and I did not appear on the scene from the onset so I can’t say definitively. I often wonder about the prevalence of racism in Italy, all I know is that I have been a victim once or twice. Maybe the DH should have been a lawyer.

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At 5:35 AM, Blogger Ann said...

I've seen racism in this neck of the woods (near Milan)a few times, at the Questura, McD's, in the street etc and also have been the "receiver" of the racism a few times. I think Italy has a few things to learn yet as far as dealing with people from different cultures.

At 5:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bravo! I applaud the courage of your DH for defending righteousness even when it didn't concern him. I think it's admirable and takes a brave man to speak out against the misbehaving law-upholders. The world needs more people like your DH. Bet you are very proud of him.

BTW, is your DH glad to see Mr B leaves the Italian government?


At 10:51 AM, Blogger midnightbunny said...

Kudos to your husband for standing up for what he believes in. If more people did that, the world would be a better place in my opinion.

At 8:18 PM, Blogger Voice_in_Colombo said...

I thought bad cops are only here in my country! (lol)
It seems they are every where you go.


At 9:32 PM, Blogger H. (aka. NC_State_Gal) said...

I definitely give props to your husband. It takes a lot of cojones to talk to officials like that, but I think that is the right thing to stand up for those that are being oppressed!

At 10:26 PM, Anonymous rowena said...

Wowser! Bravo to Deme, damn that would've made an interesting video to see I'd say! As for the racism thingy...well, hmmm...I suppose the most that I've experienced is when I walk the dog. Most everyone thinks that I'm the hired dogwalker. Still, from the few months that I was in Torino, I experienced racism only once, for the most part people thought I was japanese???!!!

At 12:42 AM, Blogger Cynthia Rae said...

Good for Deme for standing up to these guys. It is something I have noticed about Italians, they are not afraid to tell each other just how they feel, cop or no cop!


At 8:01 AM, Anonymous stacy said...

Very interesting. i have had many debates with my Italian husband on this very subject. but not living there my opinions arent based on experience. Unfortunately, i think its a worldwide problem. I hope some day we can all get past it. i think we all have room for improvement and should learn from each other.

Amen to that comment sister cyn! that seems very true even if it is from across the ocean so to speak! lol

At 12:14 PM, Blogger american girl in italy said...

In my opinion it is hard to say whether the guy was being treated unfairly/with racial predjudice - because he was *breaking the law*. Parking in an ambulance zone is a big no - no, isn't it? What happens if you are rushing to the emergency room, and the ambulance/car can't get near the doors because there are people parked there? Say, you and DH weren't coming for a visit, but rushing with an emergency, and you were blocked? Who would he be yelling at then? haha

I would be more apt to discuss racism if the guy were parked in a spot, and while walking to the entrance was harrassed for no reason.

However, I do agree that there are idiot parkers all over the city. We got ticketed once, for being one of those idiot parkers, and Franco is Italian...

I guess I would want to know more of the situation before I throw the racism card (in this situation). But I definitely know it exists.

At 6:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good for Deme. There should be more people like him around. Next time the cop decides to do something not so nice, he'll remember that perhaps there's someone like Deme watching him.


At 6:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your husband rocks! If only more people stood up for others in such a way. I usually only flip my lid if they are giving me grief. I turn a blind eye to other people. It's nice your husband doesn't!

At 8:37 AM, Blogger A Novelist said...

Your husband sounds exactly like my boyfriend. Good for him though. It's nice to know there are good people in this world, that will look out for others. :)

At 3:33 PM, Blogger american girl in italy said...

I guess I am completely missing something here, because everyone agrees that the guy was being harrassed. I see *guy breaks law, guy gets ticket* I must be totally dense, cuz I don't see the need for the guy to be defended. He was getting a ticket for parking in an emergency ambulance zone. Perhaps the hospital called the police to have the guy towed?

i guess next time i violate a parking code, people will jump to my defense...? B'oh.

At 3:37 PM, Blogger american girl in italy said...

OK, I was missing something. It was a bike. I thought you said CAR. Ok, so a bike is not like parking a car in the emergency lane. Still, I think the bike should not be there, but sounds like perhaps they were overreacting. God, I couldn't figure out why everyone was so convinced this guy was being treated unfairly. haha OK, I feel better now.


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