In the beginning there was chaos
Many cities struggle with the parking problem. With the demand for parking overwhelmingly outnumbering the supply. Some cities banned cars, others allowed outrageingly expensive garages.
What happened in Palermo is most peculiar. It is actually pretty ingenious though at first sight it is mere chaos.
Parking in Palermo starts from a sound principle. You leave your car as near to the spot as possible. One may discuss that leaving your car is not exactly the same as parking. We leave this debate to semantics and pedants.
No matter how hard the public administration tried to trim the parking jungle, it kept growing back. Haphazardly parking settled in the DNA.
Parcheggiatore - your parking guide
Instead of looking for a parking spot, you better get track of a parcheggiatore. Who are not to be confused with valets.
The lowest on the ladder are men -it’s a men’s world- indicating you where to park. No more no less. This is indeed bloody annoying. Yet better leave them some spare change to avoid dents or scratches.
On top of the parcheggiatore world are the key-holders. Much like Saint Peter. You leave them your keys and they park the car for you. When they can. And no, they won’t steal your car.
Doppia fila, double parked
Dreadful yet essential. Nobody likes it, everybody does it. For people in Palermo leaving your car doubled parked is an involuntary reflex. They breath, their hearts beat and they double park.
Truth be told, it is darn convenient. But what if you are blocked by a double parked car? A trick of the trade? Pick the parking fine from another car and place it under your wipers. Double parking is a matter of evolution. An interpretation, an adjustment to a problem, creating a minor malice.
Be nice, be gentle
Blocked by a double parked car? First blow your horn. Long and in a syncopated way in order to draw maximum attention. If nobody shows up, control whether the car is locked or not. An unlocked car can be pushed an allow you to leave.
When the car is locked, start asking around. Try to figure out where people could be waiting. When you eventually find the double parker, keep your calm. Do not expect any apologies nor justifications. Because sooner or later roles will turn.