Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Rome Journal: Perso e Trovato (Lost and Found)

photo on Alitalia's "Lost Baggage" site
Lost baggage is "bagaglio smaritto" in Italian. And sometimes the story has a happy ending, that runs contrary to despairing classics of literature (like Gogol’s “The Overcoat”) and films (like de Sica’s Ladri di Biciclette). Sometimes the traveler is reunited with his possessions and gets to pose with a fetching Alitalia claims agent who has led him to her discovery in the in the “arriviti” area of Fiumicino. Peanut butter, though loved by many Italians, can be a scarce commodity in Italy and the smile on the face of an agent in her green uniform and Alitalia bonnet, who has been rewarded with a jar of Skippy Super Crunchy, as she stands in front of the piece of found luggage is a picture that’s worth a thousand words. Italy is like this. For every Risorgimento there's an attendant balkanization and a concomitant irredentist backlash. Your fortunes swing and when you're out of luck and find yourself despondent waiting at luggage carousels whose signs have gone from “in corso” to “completo” you will feel as dejected as you do lionized when you find your Holy Grail in the airport’s “lost and found.”

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