Milan at August- Dead City

As I like to call lovingly Milano during the August time – the dead city

Some people love it, some people hate it and most are not here!

The usual morning rush hour of people storming to the tabaccherie to grab their famous brioche and the cappuccino has been replaced by shut down stores with chairs being put upside down on the tables. 

The neighbours with the shouting children and were at the end one of the two parents shout out “Basta!” and sigh a relieved “Madonna” once the children have finally left their homes is replaced by a utter silence and only the cracks of the floors of the beautiful and old homes can be heard. 

Even the advertisements and the public transportation are affected by the literal shut down period of the whole city. The metros arrive every 15 to 20 minutes rather than every 5 minutes. Instead of the low cost, high quality advertisements for resteraunts the advertisement use the only words, which will make an impact during this time! They say: “We are open!”. That is all that is needed to attract the remainders of this city. 

From hairdresser, bars, resteraunts to dry cleaners they have all shut down and a hand written sign tells us when they will be back.

Ah Milano how beautiful you can be when parking can be found without any problems, when there are no traffic jams! We – the few survivors, who have staid behind enjoy the warmth without any loud noises and crowd of people and sit outside by one of the few open places and drink peacefully our Aperol Spritz!


The ride

They were riding on their bicycles side by side since quite awhile. She started to not recognize the streets anymore. Out of nowhere her fellow rider kicked into the bicycle so that she hit the wall hard and her bicycle fell with a loud sound on the floor. She immediately felt her back pain and by the time she had recovered to look she saw only the back wheels of the person, who had done this to her. They had known each other for awhile and it came unexpected to her. 

With some pain she got up and recognised that she was in an isolated place. There were no people on the road. At daylight, with no person to help, all by herself, she started to walk in a crunched way. Painfully slow she took a step after step. The road would have been short perhaps under different conditions. She might have enjoyed the warmth of the sun, the sound of the birds and the slight wind.

However, today she barely recognized her surrounding. Her sole aim was to find a phone and call some help. At that time, she cursed her habit to not take her phone with her whilst being on the ride. She cursed removing regularly her credit cards from her purse and leave them at home so that in case of rubbery it would not be a big loss. Finally, she saw an internet shop. Her heart was beating faster and she moved faster towards it but the sudden pain bought tears into her eyes. Determined not to give up she bit her teeth and continued whilst her face was covered with sweat. So was her body. She finally reached the door and she her lips were curving upwards to a grin and froze in the midst. The hanging sign in front of the door with bright dark blue colours read “CLOSED”…[to be continued] 


Johnny Cash sang in his song “Boy named sue” the following lyrics:  “And he said: “Son, this world is rough” And if a man’s gonna make it, he’s gotta be tough”

This song came out 1969 but the words are applicable as it has been back then. Though it is a different kind of toughness to what he is referring to when you continue to listen to that song.

Men’s role has never been as unidentified and chaotic as it has been in this generation. The expectancy is mixed so there is the confusion of the newly created men role to be left to define by themselves.

You know what happens in a group project and it is left to each individual to make their contributions without a defined role and defined timescales? All of us have gone at some point through it; it does come eventually together however more by luck and most of the time not resulting in great success. The second time around you can work on your mistakes. Not without a reason is the saying used “Practice makes perfect.”

Though having an identity to work on won’t be that easy to change. To fit into a role won’t be easy if the role does not fit to the character and to follow the expectations won’t be easy.
Women have the same problems of their new role but they seem to have literally pulled up their sleeves and seem to have focused on the similarities between the roles then and now; being the more emphatic one, the more emotional one and the take carer of the family in emotional needs. Then they have added the ingredients like work, family, ambition, independency and feminism.

Taking cake baking as an example: A woman bakes a cake with all the ingredients she has. Once finished mixing up all these ingredients and put into the oven she looks up with a confused look: “Ok, since I got all the ingredients to bake my cake, as big as I want, as colourful as I want, what is your role in this?”

Silence and intimidation followed it since he had never been asked this question before but had worried countless times about it. So, the women taking the proactive approach finished to bake the first cake completely by herself. The taste of the cake was a bit bland and there was no joy of the preparation. Something was missing but the missing ingredient was not known by either of them. Both confused; one became more and more confused and uncomfortable in the role, whereas the other more and more settling into the role and baking already the next cake.

After continuing it for a while they could not bear it and turned around to face each other and said simultaneously “Perhaps we can try to bake one together, to see how it will feel like to do it together?”
The first cake did not taste well, all the ingredients were too much; double the sugar, double the eggs, double the flour but they had fun and enjoyed the process. It hadn’t been easy. They had been interfering into their workplaces, taking each other’s personal spaces away, adding too much. Though it had not been the result expected, the feeling of ease and joy took over.
Both of them not wanting to give up started to work better together, since they got used to the habits and the pace of each other.

This time they both compromised, this time compromising on the ingredients and the works done but still trying to benefit themselves and not forgetting about each other. This time all was fun; the baking, the mixing and the eating. 

Oh well, when it works for a cake then why should it not work for other aspects did they think and continued happily ever after in their togetherness and taking comfort in the trust of each other to continue to find their identity/ role in this process.