Life without petrol

Private television channels were showing lines of cars at the country’s gas stations the other day, accompanied by sadomasochistic references to how excruciating the coming week was going to be. The image of motionless vehicles was a perfect representation of the chaos of daily life, the deadlock. Combined with the new traffic restrictions at the Ambelokipi junction – the so-called «devil’s triangle» – and the four-day taxi strike, the fuel traders’ action augured insurmountable problems on the roads. And chaos on the roads always provokes further problems, as we know. Indeed, it was as if we were witnessing the personal, existential angst of drivers speaking to the TV cameras about the fuel traders’ action as if they were confiding a weighty personal problem. Moreover, the strike action by gas station owners and taxi drivers – both over the installation of cash registers – presents us with the perfect opportunity to appreciate an aspect of life that we often overlook: doing things at a slower pace, the freedom to say: «No, I can’t do that» now and then. The conviction that the world is utterly reliant upon modern conveniences (electricity, telephony, taxis) does not stand. Life goes on without petrol; die-hard motorists can get out of their cars for once and avail themselves of their city’s sidewalks and public transport. They can even cancel a meeting or two. It’s really quite liberating.

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