No exaggerations whatsoever

The Romanian Subway Syndrome

Posted in Pains in the asses by Johnny on October 28, 2009

It’s Wednesday morning and the subject woke up late and started worrying about losing his job. He makes a mental note to stop waking up so late. He hurries. He dresses up quickly. Same shirt as yesterday, usually. But do not be fooled, for this is not about the foul smell of Romanian Subway Riders.

This is about madness.

At any given station, there people trying to get in and out of the subway trains. There are doors, many doors. The doors open. Can you see them? The sudden draft created by the train’s arrival has dissolved. Picture the excitement of our subject. He made it. He still has time. He grabbed a pretzel on his way, his tie is crooked, he hasn’t shaved.

Inside the train is the identical twin of our subject. He gets off where our subject, his twin, gets on.

The subjects goes to work near his twin brother’s home and lives near his twin brother’s office. They are different this way.

The twin has made it. He already ate his pretzel and has only a short walk to his office. His brother will sit on the seat his twin has sat on and contribute his own pretzel crumbs to his brother’s pile, located under the very same seat.

And so they meet.

The twin is trying to get out of the train and the subject is trying to get on the train through the same door. They contemplate eachother through the glass, as though looking in two mirrors.

The doors open.

The twin has right of way. But our subject cannot be stopped. He must reach the seat where he must eat his pretzel and leave the crumbs under it. He must reach it quickly, before anybody else does. That would upset the universe.

And so our subject tramples his twin. He pushes his way, stomping his brother’s foot, looking down, aiming at his seat. Their seat. The twin then curses his brother for his behaviour.

The twin finally manages to get off the train and heads to work. Our subject starts eating his pretzel.

It’s five o’clock and our subject is already on his way home. His twin is waithing for the train. They will meet in the same station as they did in the morning.

But this time, our subject is trying to get off the train and his twin is trying to get on.

The twin left work late. He’ll miss dinner if he doesn’t hurry up. He must get on that train and sit on the same seat our subject has sat upon. The crumbs are still there, the pile waiting for a brand new batch on the next morning. But our subject is getting off and has right of way. They contemplate each other again through the glass.

The doors open.

Our subject is trampled by his identical twin, who stampedes inside the carriage, aiming at the seat. Our subject curses his own brother for his inadmissible behaviour.

They both go home and tell their wives about their incident. They are shocked at how people behave nowadays. To be trampled! To be denied right of way! Disgusting.

That weekend, the twins and their twin wives meet for barbecue. They retell the stories to one another. Each of them is appaled. Something must be done! But how? And who will listen? People will say they are nuts to demand such things. Right of way. They are surrounded by animals.

But the twins story is nothing.

Imagine this: no twin. Just our subject, alone, cursing some stranger who tramples him. Not realizing that that stranger is in fact himself.

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How does it work?

Posted in Pains in the asses by Johnny on October 22, 2009

Just how does this country work? How come buses are running, trains are in motion, taxes are being paid, public employees receive their monthly wages? What makes all this possibile?

The Camel Farm

Posted in Scientific approach by Johnny on October 20, 2009

Yesterday I had one of those crazy ideas. A camel farm. Today I decided to investigate this matter and discovered that the first comercial camel farm in Europe already exists, in Holland. The owner imported 3 camels from the Canary Islands, because importing camels from a non-european country is prohibited ( EU crap law) and now has 40 camels.

Watch the movie, it’s quite entertaining to see those young guys taking care of camels. In this country, it seems that only old people and low-lives are in charge of animals.

And, surprisingly, I found out about the miraculous properties of camel milk.

Why a camel farm in Romania? Well, the obvious perks: the wool, the milk, the meat. And then there  is the Oltenian Desert. We actually have some pretty cool sand dunes. So why not introduce camels, for tourists? I’d name the operation Little Egypt.

Camel ride, for just 99,95 RON.

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Learning Greek

Posted in Scientific approach by Johnny on October 19, 2009

Someone once said that Romanians instantly understand Italian. That is somewhat true. Italians, on the other hand, can’t understand a bit of Romanian. They need to study it. They need dictionaries and books and lessons, and the pronunciation is a nightmare.

I honestly hoped, when I started learning Greek, that I would instantly understand it, although it doesn’t really resemble my language. Unfortunately, I don’t seem to comprehend it. It looks like I’ll need to spend some months studying it intensly. And then, there’s pronunciation.

I’ve already learned the alphabet and some pronunciation rules. I managed to form my first phrases, asking for water, wine, saying yes and no. But it’s so hard. And so not fair.

I have acquired the necessary stationary. I have a pencil and two notebooks. I remember learning English, in sixth grade. I had tonnes of homework! Now I only spend about 15 minutes a day learning Greek, but it seems to do the trick.

I estimate that I will speak Greek within the year. I’ll keep you posted.

Dark Star Safari

Posted in Books, media, folklore by Johnny on October 19, 2009

Paul Theroux wrote this travel book that I am currently reading. It’s not very good, as travel books go, it’s more like those books about the Renaissance painters. They don’t write them like… 14 feb. Da Vinci was born. 12 april 1513 he started painting the Mona Lisa. No. It’s freestyle writing.

But nevermind this crap about the Renaissance. What I want to say is that this guy, Paul Theroux, travels across land from Cairo to Cape Town. Through Africa. He does not choose the touristy trails and decides to travel alone, without a camera crew, without a support team, without a big 4 wheel drive. On his own, age 60.

He visits all the East-African countries. Malawi.  I didn’t even know Malawi was a country. I thought it was just a lake. Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Mozambique. He experiences the real Africa.

And you what? Reading the chapter about Malawi, I felt as if this crazy American was actually talking about Romania. Just swap Malawi with Romania and you got a pretty accurate description of the stuff that goes on in my country. And I’m not kidding.

Ok, maybe not 100% accurate. But I remember this phrase, from the book.  Paul tells this South-African guy that South Africa is not a third world country. And the guy says: Not yet. Romania isn’t a third world country either. Not yet.