Living in Milan, Italy is great.  There’s beautiful architecture on every building, getting from Point A to Point B is relatively easy and cost-effective with an excellent Metro system, and living in the city center I can find just about any store I may need to get just about anything or service I want.  All in all, over the past few years I’ve transformed from a suburbanite to a city boy, and have no qualms about it.  Well, there may be a couple of qualms.

The big thing that really grinds my gears to a fine dust is the sidewalks.  No, it’s not the fact that they are narrow because the city wasn’t really designed to accommodate cars and what not when the city was designed centuries ago.  That’s a nitpick that my American ass has gotten quite used to over the years.  What really ticks me off about the sidewalks is how people treat them, especially dog owners.  Whenever I am walking somewhere I give myself a neck cramp from having to keep my head down and eyes pointed at the ground so I don’t end up stepping in dog shit.

When you adopt a dog you gain more responsibilities over just feeding it and walking it daily.  One of those responsibilities is cleaning up the little presents that your canine friend leaves behind from time to time.  If you can’t clean up after your puppy or the thought of getting a plastic bag to pick up and dispose of its poop disgusts you, don’t get a dog.  Not only are you disrespecting the city in which you live in, you are also disrespecting and inconveniencing everyone who lives in the city by leaving your dogs shit everywhere.  Stop it!!

And then there’s all the other goodies that some delightful people leave strewn about the sidewalks, being in Italy, it’s mainly food-related garbage (half a kebab or a McDonald’s burger, oddly enough you won’t find a pizza crumb).  Is it that hard to use a trashcan?  C’mon people, what year is it?  If you want to be treated like a civilized human being, act like one.  Again, you are disrespecting and inconveniencing your city and also the environment.

When I’m out and about I always see AMSA (Milan’s cleanup and garbage crew) at work, so I can’t say that the city isn’t doing anything to keep the sidewalks clean, but I guess in a city not even a Swiss-perfect service could compensate the amount of disrespectful people going around – the city offers everything in large amounts, and that goes for litterers too.  My proposition, the city needs to start cracking down on these people let their dogs shit anywhere or leave their litter or bodily fluids all over the place.  Start handing out fines like candy and make some major repercussions to those who don’t pay their dues.  With the huge amount of money the fines will bring in, the city funded AMSA can hire more workers and equipment to clean up the city even more and eventually the people will get the hint that leaving dog shit on the sidewalk is wrong and will stop doing it.  I know very little about Italian politics, and I guess this issue is not top priority on the list, but don’t see this being anything extremely difficult to accomplish.  You can do it Pisapia (Milan’s newly elected mayor, who’s a major step up over the previous mayor)!!

Don’t let this post let you think that Milan is a filthy city, (or anyway filthier than any other big city, apart from Swiss ones, that I hear are quite pristine), which it is not, I have seen much, much worse in my life, and for the sake of lamentation, I’m exaggerating quite a bit.  It’s just that this dog poo and litter problem needs to be solved and if it is Milan can go on truly being on of the most beautiful and most unique Italian/European cities.  Places like Milan’s Duomo, the Navigli, and the famous and overpriced Quadrilatero della Moda (‘quadrilateral of fashion’) show how gorgeous the city really is and with some cleaning around the edges, man, could Milan really shine.   Peace Love and Metal!!!!

Here’s a music video by the Italian half comedy half serious rock group Elio e le Storie Tese (Elio and the Tense Stories) that takes place on the Navigli (a must go to area of the city for all visitors and residents).  The song is called “Spalman” (roughly translated as “Spreadman”) and it’s about a superhero who defeats his enemies by spreading shit on their faces, maybe my blog title makes more sense now…  There are no feces or superheros in the video, so it’s safe for work, just a dude walking around the Navigli.  Enjoy!!!

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