Under the subject line "Things you never thought you'd get to say", Bob Ladd sent me this note yesterday:
You are among the few people I know who will appreciate this anecdote:
It's been unusually cool, wet, and windy in many parts of the Mediterranean this summer, including our part of Sardinia. On our last full day there last week, our local beach was still unpleasantly rough and windy, so we decided to go to a place called La Licciola about 10 miles away, on the other side of the headland and therefore protected from the wind. The last time we went there a couple of years ago, the final access was a long downhill stretch of dirt road with what amounted to a field to park in at the bottom. It was fairly chaotic in a typically Italian way, with people managing to park along the edges of the dirt road when the field got full, but with everyone always leaving just enough room to get through. Anyway, the other day we got to the top of the downhill road to discover that it has been properly paved, with an actual sidewalk along one side and no-parking signs on the other (though everyone was parking there anyway). The parking field has been improved with clearly delineated spaces and there was a chain across the entrance because it was already full. People were having a hard time turning around because the sidewalk has narrowed the driveable part of the downhill road, and new people kept coming in at the top of the hill looking for a space to park, creating more chaos. We decided to give up and go somewhere else, but it took us the better part of 15 minutes to extract ourselves from the mess. It was only on the way back out to the main road that it occurred to me that, in trying to improve things, they had managed to, well, wreck a nice beach.
It was my misfortune to be sharing the car with someone who wouldn't have understood why I was giggling.