Friday, November 15, 2013

Prayer of the Motoscafista (or Water Taxi Driver)

Striking trasportatori (transport drivers) crowd the entrance to Ca' Farsetti this morning, where they hoped to meet with the city council; beside them the waters of the Grand Canal are unusually calm in the absence of their boats
Though there are a few mototopi (or large transport boats) to be seen on the water now (for example, those bringing supplies to pharmacies), and a few taxis, the strike by most drivers of these types of boats continues. The drivers are protesting rules that restrict, among other things, their use of the Grand Canal to certain hours of the day. The restrictions (or "26 Points") are the city council's attempt to reduce the kind of excessive and dangerous traffic on the canal that led to the fatal collision of a vaporetto and a gondola last August.

But while the strike may make some people appreciate the city's dependence on the transport boats that carry goods and supplies to businesses, the strike has also clearly had what local activist Michela Scibilia called a "boomerang" effect on water taxi drivers. Most Venetians seem quite happy to be rid of them, and yesterday morning the mocking "Preghiera del motoscafista" or "Prayer of the Water Taxi Driver" (below) could be found taped up all around the long commercial thoroughfare of Strada Nuova.

Preghiera del motoscafista
Caro e dolce Gesù bambino
Che esaudisci i desideri di ogni piccino
Ascolata la nostra accorata preghiera:
Riaprici il Canal Grande de mattina a sera!
Che it limiti salgano a dieci e poi a venti
Per farci sfrecciare felici e contenti
Che Battelli e Lancioni affondino tutti:
"Il Canal xe nostro, brutti farabutti!"
Se poi ti avanza qualcosa da fare
Le carte di credito aiuta a bruciare.
Sia mai che salga il fatturato
E qualcosa finisca, Buon Dio, dichiarato.

Aiutaci infine coi veneziani
Non ci capiscono, son disumani.
I nostri prezzi non voglion pagare
Col trasporto di linea si ostinan a viaggiare.

Il gasolio costa, i nostri vizi pure
Le nostre condizioni di vita son sempre più dure.
E purtroppo accade che anche quaggiù
Ci sian motoscafisti poveri come Gesù.
My quick rough translation:
Dear sweet baby Jesus
Who grants the wishes of every little child
Hear our sorrowful prayer:
Re-open the Grand Canal from morning to night!

Raise the speed limit to ten and then to twenty,
So we can race about happy and content,
And sink every one of the vaporetti and tour boats:
"The canal is ours, you ugly soundrels!"

The next thing you could do
Is help to burn all credit cards
So receipts would never be a problem
And declared income, Good God, would be finished.

Help us finally with the Venetians,
Who don't understand us, and are cruel.
They don't want to pay our prices
And insist on taking vaporetti.

Gasoline costs a lot, as do our vices,
Our quality of life becomes ever more hard,
And unfortunately what's happening down here
Is that we taxi drivers are becoming as poor as Jesus. 
I imagine the taxi drivers were probably hoping for a little more public support, or at least less outright hostility, than the above satire evinces.

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