The city of Leonia refashions itself every day: every morning the people wake between fresh sheets, wash with just-unwrapped cakes of soap, wear brand-new clothing, take from the latest model refrigerator still unopened tins, listening to the last-minute jingles from the most up-to-date radio. On the sidewalks, encased in spotless plastic bags, the remains of yesterday's Leonia await the garbage truck. Not only squeezed tubes of toothpaste, blown-out light bulbs, newspapers, containers, wrappings, but also boilers, encyclopedias, pianos, porcelain dinner services.
It is not so much by the things that each day are manufactured, sold, bought, that you can measure Leonia's opulence, but rather by the things that each day are thrown out to make room for the new.
So you begin to wonder if Leonia's true passion is really , as they say, the enjoyment of new things, and not, instead, the joy of expelling, discarding, cleansing itself of a recurrent impurity. The fact is that street cleaners are welcomed like angels.
Nel corso di una giornata molta gente, molte cose e lavori si sfiorano che sembrano consueti e noti e di cui si sa invece ben poco – quel poco soltanto che sta a diretto contatto con gli interessi e la vita di ciascuno di noi. Tutto il resto ci è estraneo. Chi siano e come vivano gli spazzini – questi umili e taciturni lavoratori che nessuno degna di uno sguardo o di una parola – sembra non ci riguardi. Gli spazzini fanno parte della città come qualcosa di inanimato, eppure nessuno più di loro partecipa alla vita cittadina. Con quali occhi la vedranno? Il loro lavoro è cominciato da un pezzo quando la città si sveglia.
In the course of a day, we brush against many people, things and work activities that seem habitual and familiar to us and yet we know very little about them: just that little amount that directly touches the interests and lives of each of us. Everything else is foreign to us. Who the street cleaners are – these humble and silent workers who nobody deigns to look at or talk to – seems not to concern us. The street cleaners are part of the city like inanimate objects, and yet no people are more involved than they are in the life of the city. With what eyes do they see it? Their work has already started a while ago when the city wakes up.