Urban Portrait – Punkabestia
I had to run an errand after work in the Campo de’ Fiori area and found myself on via dei Pettinari where I came across this dog waiting patiently for his owner. Instantly a blog topic came into mind and I snapped this photo quickly before the owner returned. Why so quickly? Well, this little “still life” of dog, backpack, change bin let me know that I would probably be encountering a punkabestia, and I’m going to be honest, they scare the crap out of me. I try really hard to be open minded about people, so I feel bad saying that, but I can’t help it! So what is a punkabestia? The name comes from the joining of two words “punk” and “bestia” (so a punk and his “beast,” which refers to the dogs they often have). Normally they live on the street and hang out with their dogs in certain areas, here in Rome there are tons in San Lorenzo and also the Ponte Sisto seems to be a popular spot. I remember a friend’s dog was so scared of the punkabestia’s dogs that she would whimper every time we got to the Ponte Sisto and so we always had to use a different bridge. So why do they scare me? They’re just totally unpredictable. Some of the dogs are trained to be vicious, some not, sometimes they’re drunk/high and yelling, sometimes they leave everyone alone. Anyway, I don’t want the post to be a bunch of stereotypes because I’m sure there are punkabestia who are different, but since I can’t tell the difference I’ll end here. I will say that they’re definitely part of the Roman (and Italian) landscape. I just always feel bad for their poor dogs! Anyway, my advice is to stay far away. I had to walk by again about 10 minutes later and the dog’s owner had returned and was screaming nonsense at everyone who passed by. Thank god I didn’t get caught taking the photo!