On my way to work this morning I was pulled over by two traffic officers for the first time in my life. They were checking out older cars to make sure the anti-pollution laws were not being violated.
Cars here are classified as Euro 0, Euro 1, Euro 2 and so on (for information on European low emission zones and relative policies, see: http://tinyurl.com/2dya7q). Cars that belong to the Euro 0 category can no longer circulate in Florence (and elsewhere), nor can certain types of Euro 1 (diesel cars, e.g.). It has to do with keeping the levels of pollution as low as possible. Speaking of which, how can the big polluting SUVs be allowed to circulate? Outrageous.
At any rate, my little old two-door hatchback Mazda is a Euro 2, so it is still okay, but we will probably have to turn it in (sob) and buy a new car next year. Anyway, this morning the officer checked my driver’s license and vehicle registration…everything was in order, so I drove off.
I had barely crossed the bridge (over the Arno River) when I got stopped…AGAIN! Even though I was afraid of arriving late at work, I just had to chuckle. I rolled down my window and told the traffic officer that my car had just been checked out by a couple of his colleagues, and the funny (handsome, too!) guy quipped, “well, then you already know what documents I need to see!”
Just as I was pulling back out on the street, he shouted after me, “ah, ma non c’è due senza tre!” The English equivalent is “it never rains but it pours,” but the literal translation from Italian would be: “two things never happen without there being a third.” Meaning that before long I would be stopped again. Haha, very funny.
But no, I managed to get to work without further incident.
And my students very much enjoyed the story.