The Sicilian Trucker’s Strike continues, and I’m here to help you imagine living through it. Tonight we are saving heating fuel by leaving the heat completely off, bundling up and sitting by a space heater. It’s a little like winter camping, except no campfire or s’mores and the bathrooms are better (though just as cold, whoo, that’ll make you gasp!). The movement is gaining momentum as the week has passed, rather than diminishing with time and cold temperatures. The presence near base was going strong when we rolled by this morning at 7am, and the collection of protesters near our house was the largest we have seen tonight.
Today’s strike rumors include:
(Uno) 1. The protest organizers met with “government officials” (which ones?) in Palermo (the big city on the western coast of Sicily). The government officials were trying to convince them to call off the sciopero (strike) earlier than midnight Friday. Due to the incredible leverage the protesters have, I imagine that they would be reluctant to settle for any meager terms. So far, no reduction in the strike duration has been reached.
(Due) 2. The commissary will run out of food!!! Ahh! Start taking aim at the goats with your car, it’s the only way to survive!!! WRONG. The commissary is supposed to get seven truckloads of supplies on Saturday, when the strike ceases. 7!!!
(Tre) 3. Not a rumor = striking a goat (or other livestock) with your car will cost you about 1000 Euro per animal. It could be more if you kill a prized breeder or milk producer. Sicilians value their livestock, drive with care!
(Quattro) 4. We’re going to run out of gas! Okay, this one isn’t so much rumor as it is a statement of fact meant to induce panic unnecessarily. Just like we’ll all die some day, running out of gas is a reality by degree. Depending on your reserves and your resourcefulness, you may run out of gas. We will definitely run out of bombola gas (for heating) if we use it as we usually do, but I can guarantee we won’t run out of cooking fuel for months. And, let’s face it, eating is more important than lounging around my living room in less than a snowmobile suit. Some people may need to carpool or miss a day of work for lack of gas, it’s true, but that is still no reason to panic.
(Cinque) 5. The Mazomanians are coming!!! You know the Mazomanians, right? The dreaded Mazomanians? Who show up unannounced, with pitchforks in their hands and beers in their belts, just waiting to bore you to death and taunt you with the unopened beer that could relieve the relentlessly slow-story-telling misery? Wait, that is just my own rumor, based on the long-winded nature of small-town storytellers the world over. It is just more fun to say “The Mazomanians are Coming!!!”
P.S. Mazomanie is a wonderful small town and the people there are actually really, really nice.