OPINION

Popular adventures

« Move in a bit,» «There’s no room to move,» «Hey, watch it. You’ll take somebody’s head off,» «My shoe, where’s my shoe?» «Air, I need some air!» Bodies, bags and umbrellas – a solid, impenetrable, threatening mass. It was 5.30 p.m. as the crammed bus crawled toward Piraeus, leaving a crowd of desperate commuters at Syntagma Square waiting for the next bus in the pouring rain. The traffic was a nightmare. Every stop the bus made was a mini-epic, with changing protagonists. The Kifissos River had again broken its banks. The electric railway had suspended operations. The taxi drivers were on strike. «But that’s no excuse,» a young commuter protested. «We go through this drama twice a week.» A handful of fellow commuters nodded gravely in approval. A twice-weekly what – exercise in stoicism? The mute observance of unwritten public transport regulations? Or a pedestrian’s last resort? It seems it is, indeed, a last resort until you acquire a car, which cages you in and poisons the environment, but at least you don’t get mauled. And it doesn’t directly offend you like the forced, almost violent, «socialization» in the experience of taking a bus during rush hour – the traditional «sardine effect.» So trite and uninteresting that it doesn’t provoke any political reaction, it is, after all, only experienced by those without the luxury of a car, or taxi fare…