Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Work Release

by Ellen Murphy
Monday morning as I proceeded to class, a muscular man with tattoos dressed in a florescent orange jumpsuit swiftly passes me in the street. I catch my nervousness with a quick intake of breath.

Reflecting on a recent discussion in class, I recognize either an idiosyncratic or covert cultural mismatch. In my hometown florescent orange jumpsuit designates prisoners on work release. Men to be avoided. Untrusted and potentially dangerous.

After four days in Cagli, I realize he is one of many city workers. I no longer hold my breath nervously. I watch the city workers in their florescent jumpsuit uniforms work with a small street sweeper.

The brushes of the sweeper rapidly scrub the cobblestone street. The clean up after the Grill Fest has begun. The men empty the recycle bins and trash. Reviewing the landscape of the street for wayward trash and discarded cigarettes, the men use push brooms to coral the remains.