Yesterday we raced down to our beloved Italy in madcap style, here to this corner of paradise, for a few days’ escape. This morning I at last made it to the barber’s. Flavio is not Lino (see this post), but he plays a similar role in this local community and, just like Lino, he has forthright opinions on matters political. About half way through our conversation we got onto the Florida oil spill. Flavio was caustically scathing about the way in which our energy-hungry communities live beyond their means, taking technology beyond the prudent bounds that any halfway-serious risk analysis would impose. He told me about Tchernobyl and I understood why he felt quite so passionate. The cloud passed this way, and it rained. The inhabitants were banned from eating local-grown produce for many years. When they ran a Geiger counter over his hair it went wild. ‘And now we are paying the price,’ he told me grimly. The local death rate from cancer is much, much higher than the national average and people are dying much younger than they should. The lyrics of Joni Mitchell’s Yellow Cab came to me: Don’t it always seem to go/That you don’t know what you got till it’s gone… Will the Florida Keys ever truly and fully recover? Whatever, those people dying ugly, premature deaths in Northern Italy will surely not be around to see if that particular part of Paradise can be Regained.