Moments of optimism in a pessimist’s life are just exceptions for us to prove the rule that pessimism is the only way to live.
When the pandemic began, I, like others, had a momentary optimistic lapse with the hope that this was the moment that the (human) world would take a stern look at itself and stop being such a wanker.
Of course, it didn’t and we’re back where we started, if not further back than we were before the lockdown times happened.
Among many other hopes for a post pandemic world (and I’m sure I’ll get to those soon), one was that the tourism in Lisbon would die down a bit, or come back in slow, decade long stages, give the city a chance to breathe a bit after the last few years of touristic onslaught, find itself again, find its soul.
My hopes were entirely unfounded, as I now find that not only has it picked up where it left off in March 2020, but it is already worse, fuller, more chaotic, and bit by bit the city is being picked apart by glossy slate and chalk and copper and oak eateries, and posh hotels and souvenir shops which are growing like mould.
Worst of all are those goddam motherfucking shitmachines (sorry) E-scooters/trotinetes.
(I swore I would resort less to swearing now I’m back to trying to write more, but there are some things…)
They are a plague on all cities and Lisbon is no exception and have been reproducing while we were in lockdown. They are a menace, they are lethal, they are littering the streets, they are causing unnecessary injuries for hospitals to patch up (including many head injuries) and although they are illegal to use on the road and on the pavement, those are the only places they are being used, mostly by teenagers without a driving licence and tourists who have no idea how dangerous Portuguese traffic/roads/drivers are, or gleefully ignorant that they are, in fact, not the only creatures in the world with a right to life, love, dignity and unbroken legs.
Why is money so blinding that everything just gets waved through? Who is it even making money off the trotinetes? Why couldn’t the council have just said to whoever it was “trotinetes? in Lisbon? Are you fucking crazy? Have you SEEN our roads/pavements?”
“Oh,” they say, “but trotinetes are such fun!”
Meet a drunk stag party on wheels coming in your direction when you’re already trying not to fall on your arse on the shiny calçada and tell me that’s fun.
Optimism? It’s for the birds (there are no scooters in the sky).