March 29, 2010
I stood in front of a parchimetro at a small park along Viale Luigi Rendina in centro L’Aquila intent on abiding by municipal regulations in the distressed city that I was about to visit. The area, after all, is still occupied by soldiers and military vehicles. I imagined that parking violations would not be tolerated and in doing my part to respect civil authority, I reached into my coin purse for a few euro. A middle aged couple sitting on a bench 50 yards away in the seemingly intact park waved me off from inserting the coins into the plastic machine that would issue a receipt to park legally in centro. When I approached them, the woman quietly explained, “ Non devi pagare per il parcheggio ora a causa del terremoto.”
Walking on toward centro, I could see few signs of normalcy. Cooling off at the fountain in Piazza del Duomo, watching a soccer match at John Martin’s or Pizzeria Old City, taking a passeggiata on Via Roma, putting coins in a meter-you don’t have to do any of it now.