I could not resist stopping the car and asking the guy standing in the middle of the traffic circle a question.
I wasn’t really lost but honestly it was like I had rediscovered an old friend.
There he was with his gloves on, conducting traffic, no traffic lights to bother him, and the cars, even in this chaotic country, obeyed his every move. There was a guy, whom I recall with fond memories, that stood on a podium at the end of the Via del Corso and the start of the Piazza Venezia in Rome. He wore white gloves, a very white uniform, and conducted the traffic as if it were a symphony.
The Vespa’s and motorbikes would stop at his every whim. Then a glance and a finger pointed and in one fell swoop he would start the traffic flow from one street and stop the flow from another. I always imagined that the cars and scooters were parts of his orchestra. Everybody would obey. A tilt of the head, a look away, a hand to halt an ongoing flow of traffic, and all in constant movement, exhausting, artistic, and beautiful. The Traffic Cop’s Symphony.
I do not see him anymore but in Turin that day, I saw a glimmer of hope.