(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘DILEMA VECHE’)
Bucharest, a hostile city?
October 4, 1996: With my fingers tightly seated on the handle of the wooden suitcase, I present myself at the gate of the unit for the satisfaction of the military service. The plutonier Potrichnich, responsible for the “accommodating” of the recruits, has revealed each of us. In our platoon of Terriers * there are only two Bucharest, philologists both (Happens!): Gabi and I, the stalk of stature. Pumpkin rejoiced: “These two tiny linguists! You are buccaneers, yes ?! Let me give you sectors! That close-up bald bar, the piglet in the pigs! I said, “I made you the trick of my head!” And he made: all the “period” (the first month of the army) I washed the closes of the unit, and Gabi guarded the pigs’ cages (brackets: our unity, from the boiler, and the pigs had to be guarded day and night so as not to steal the villagers who used to jump over the fence. Years before, he had robbed the pigs with all the coins, it was a huge scandal). Being merciful, a Christian soul, Potrirniche was changing our sectors every week: I was guarding my swine, Gabi giggled dry feces. I was wrong, but the other was the problem.
He was like Potrichiche, he was a platoon of trade; but our platoon colleagues treated us like “Bucharest tricks,” though Gabi and I were hitting us, I do not know how, the worst people anyone can imagine. Two nations, two wretched, and small, and poor, and poor, and habarni in battle, and without resistance to alcohol. However, we have always been part of this “ass of the donkey,” that is, we have been given a certain attribute of the city, which we two were completely deprived of. The “trick” actually meant “the typical Bucharest hostility,” at least I understand it. In order to understand better (and because I admire Svetlana Aleksievici), I have gathered several answers from friends, to whom they give their first names (followed by their place of origin and current residence). I have a request: if the editorial publishes this text, I ask readers to briefly comment on their own experiences. Thank you!
“I got off the train in North Train Station, in the ’94, student, and as I got out of the station, a stray dog bit me. From behind, he manages: he torn his big muscles. I asked the taxi drivers to take me to the hospital, he did not want one, because he was dirtying the bloodbath, and the one who took me pity asked me a triple fare to the Colentina hospital. There I went into the yard, I asked where he was, “the goalkeeper made a nod of his head, but he broke down a word on me. I’m going through the hospital yard, a pack of dogs running past me, more likely to hurt myself, and it probably had the smell of blood flowing from my leg. Painted and vaccinated, I went to the home with my hand; there they gave me a room that had nothing: no door, no windows, no cabinet, just the metal skeleton of a military bed. I left, I slept at the hotel, gave the next few days, almost all my money, I managed to get a room in another dorm. “(Mirel, Braila, Bucharest)
“For the first time, putting aside the idea of a hostile city, closing my eyes and thinking of the first sensations of” Bucharest “I remember the Buzea family, which I invariably visited when I came. And it is a very pleasant memory … now, if I think about the fact that Bucharest is perceived as a hostile city, I tell you some of the memories that have built me this picture: it was absolutely inconceivable for me to pass by a man and not to greet him or not to be greeted; here, as in any city, this is not practiced, and it hurts me to see indifferent people; the first time I went with the subway in ’83 when I came out and a young man from the subway told me: ‘Get out of hand, peasants, you’ve stepped on my feet’, free of charge with striking aggressiveness; when I came as a mature student, that is to college, in Bucharest there were all pockets of thieves (we were going a lot with the bus and going out clearly); there would be aggression in traffic felt when I started driving; communist districts and the perception of grayness. To be fair, I can say that I also have positive opinions from that time, but that’s on another occasion. “(Costica, Gura Teghii, Bucharest)
“Michael, you got me thinking about this problem … I was still thinking if I felt Bucharest hostile … and the answer is complicated. I came to college for 18 years, but I stayed at home, so many others like me. Indeed, at school, there was a separate group of Bucharest, but they were in the minority. I may have felt a hostile city when I looked for work. I did not have knowledge, I had no Bucharest friends to recommend, and so it was quite difficult for me to do first. Driving seemed a problem to you if you had provincial numbers: from the first I received horns, even though I was not wrong with anything, but I could just go slower. Otherwise, in the workplace, wherever I worked, my colleagues were mostly provincial like me, so there is no animosity. And I have to admit that besides Amalia, I have no other friend in Bucharest. But if I take after my husband, Bucharest, the locals are very much against the provinces. They have crowded the city, are uncivilized, uneducated … and the list can continue. I am the exception, of course! And here in Prague, at a distance, to see talks! The Bucharesters are overwhelmed, those in the province are peasants! Undoubtedly, however, the Provincials fought more for their position in Bucharest, and they learned more quickly to do it on their own, not being with their parents. That’s how much I had to say. “(Andreea, Braila, Prague) at a distance, see talks! The Bucharesters are overwhelmed, those in the province are peasants! Undoubtedly, however, the Provincials fought more for their position in Bucharest, and they learned more quickly to do it on their own, not being with their parents. That’s how much I had to say. “(Andreea, Braila, Prague) at a distance, see talks! The Bucharesters are overwhelmed, those in the province are peasants! Undoubtedly, however, the Provincials fought more for their position in Bucharest, and they learned more quickly to do it on their own, not being with their parents. That’s how much I had to say. “(Andreea, Braila, Prague)
“I know Bucharest has not been sympathetic from the beginning, but I preferred this. I came here for college; I passed the exam, got into the subway and went to the station. The stupid subway that left the Heroes has reached the Polytechnic. During this time I asked the people and tried to find my way to the station. I know I’m the most unlucky, I’ve got a train going in another direction, that the wagon I went to was without the speakers … I finally got fixed to buy another ticket, for the train after. We were coming from Constanta, a beautiful, peaceful city. It took me years to get used to the air in the capital and the noise. As long as I was in college, I had free subscription to the surface, I was worry-free everywhere; I have not found a place where I can hear my thoughts. The log is big, but he has no hidden colts; Behind the blocks there are more screams than I could imagine, and I was hardly approaching the central areas. Even in the area that is now a natural reserve I have not been able to find a place where I can say I do not hear the cars. I was saying I came for college. We got the scholarship. There was no home in the first year that there were no places, but I got room, we had a big average. They gave me a breakdown in Polygraphy. I was, I picked up the room and ran away. It was a luxurious room, because it had two shelves of eight possible. There was no door, no mattresses, the bed was more a metal frame, it had no window frames, no more painting, water or heat. We then found a high school home, a home separated by boys to the girls, the door locked at 22 o’clock, you were obligatory paying the table card, which was about the entire scholarship. I did, that I was among the few who woke up in the morning, and had a few cards to me; in the evenings there were smaller portions to get ladies with bigger bags. The list could continue well and well. But I realized with time that the city itself has no blame, I could go home anytime, that is, give up. Not in the city, not in college, but in challenges. It did not happen. Years have passed and I have come to see many cities, many countries. I found out that there is no place where milk and honey flow. I faced exactly the same challenges just on a much larger scale. It’s not too late to turn the globe and choose any city in the world, but today Constanza is not exactly what it once was. I think the hostility is not Bucharest. It is the hostility of the people who are in a position and who look at them from above all who want to be like them or above. It is about man’s resolve to make progress. Bucharest is a big city, still desirable for many. Qualifies for the hostile call. But I also talked to the Romanians who worked right in Italy and then felt the hostility of the locals because they were a threat as a number. I found people in Bristol who did not want to talk to me in principle. I found in Seattle people who did not let me venture from a road drawn on the carpet. I found people in Kuala Lumpur with whom I struck my hand and who then announced me in the 12th hour that they gave up the deal. You have caused me to remember the unpleasant events, but they are just one face of the coin.
“Question with closed answer, I forgot that this is what she says. In Chinese, there are sentences with ” ma” in the queue … a new world may seem hostile, that is, the Doors: ” People are strange when you’re a stranger, faces look ugly when you’re alone.” .. OK, I answer, but I’d disappoint you deeply: I felt that the city welcomed me with open arms. It was love from the first, especially because I had been warned what a nasty thing to live among myths. Nope . It was extraordinary. I came after college, pushed by my mother, that in Sibiu I was unlikely to find decent decent service (“guanxi”, “in Chinese), mys did not have such a thing, so my sister and I were packed and sent to Bucharest. Here I got into one of the first corporations of the mid-1990s where we all were about the same age and we were from all corners of the country. If I did not come to Bucharest, I would have no idea what kind of people there are and other areas, very sympathetic and very open people. No trace of hostility on the contrary. In Sibiu I met people who lived there for 20 years and were still seen as Oltenians … in Bucharest I did not see this thing. And even if we were concerned that the Oleten or Transylvanian was a purely geographical thing, it did not involve hostility. Bucharest has opened my appetite for large, energy-rich cities, so we have arrived in a city with 25 million inhabitants. Big cities are indulgent with the Venetians, accepts it more easily than small towns. My opinion. “(Rosana, Sibiu, Shanghai)
“You want to make money for us, and you do not even give a beer call, as if you do not drink with these people anymore, since you’re famous. Well, I did not feel hostility when I arrived in the capital on my own in the 11th grade in 1990. It was through May, before the mining. I really liked people, they were friendly and nice. I did not know Bucharest at all, I landed myself by train, but people helped me get where I needed it. It may have been the euphoria after the Revolution. Instead, I noticed the hostility of those who wanted to take advantage of you, janitors, taxi drivers, currency changers, etc., which were very many to what I knew. And the sellers in the shops, who looked ugly and abhorrent to you, I suspect that they also behaved with the locals. In college I felt perfect, I stayed in the dorm, and there the inhabitants of Bucharest were minorities or were not at all. And our colleagues from Bucharest did not interfere with us, the provinces. They were staring up at us. But not all, with some I understood well. They were cheering in Regie, but the Bucharest people did not really participate. So did they just talk between them. Of course I was struggling with the corruption in the dorms, I think the administrator of a home earns thousands of dollars in the 90s. No hostility on this side, if you were making much money. The hostility of the locals is felt from time to time, but not from those who are from Bucharest, but from those who came here from Pantelimon or Adunatii Copaceni, looking at you from above, you, the provincial. Many do not realize that they still smell the cow and the sheep, they, the big city people. A sort of perceived hostility throughout the time would be to make sure the locals do not mix with the newcomers and keep a certain distance. But this is probably the case in any bigger city. That’s how it comes, we talk, we drink beer, we laugh, jokes, then everyone at his house. Some people do not even want to go out with you … “(Cristian, Reghin, Bucharest)
“I came in ’93. I did not feel hostility then. I felt hostile to him, but after the school years, when things became serious. But no taxi drivers or stray dogs have upset me, but the trick. And the trick is the mother of all hostilities. Otherwise, in Bucharest he laughs like nowhere else. And I’m not referring to the stupid laugh, the slum, you know what I mean; otherwise, Michael, I do not think I am the “witness” you need; the city did not seem to me like that, nor did it look like that. I was looking at the buildings, walking a lot. I liked the world, it seemed to me that people have style and that they can do and live a lot. Many of my books, theater, music, great concerns, seemed to be able to lead a life of intellect, whether veil or not. The city itself was the Capital. He could not think in terms of hostility, hospitality, facility, difficulty. Bucharest meant more than the inconveniences that you could meet, these were part of the life of any big city, I did not see anything bad or good in that. I liked the buildings, the air of the old houses, the private libraries, the long walks, the reveries … ergo, my testimony has no value, being too sentimental “(Andrei, Focşani, Bucharest)
* TR, that is, Reduced Term. Graduates of the faculty did only six months of military service.
Mihai Buzea is a journalist at Caţavencii.