Strange days in Bucharest, something in the air of late. Actually, the city is returning to normal – the aberration has in fact been the last two months.
I already miss August and September. The city was mostly vacant then. Traffic was at an ebb and you could always find a seat at the modish and familiar cafés. Weekends were even better, as the workaday folk made haste for the mountains or the seaside. But all that’s changing. Now, recursively, college students are pouring into the city from the provinces for another academic year; others are returning from their holidays in Bulgaria or Greece. Soon will close the many wonderful terraces I’ve frequented since April. The evenings get darker and chillier, earlier and earlier. And the girls of Bucharest. Ahh, the beautiful girls of Bucharest. Still they go out in those beautiful sundresses, short skirts, bare arms and necks, still a bit tan from the seaside… as if, by their own force of nature, in all their feminine splendor and summer couture, they can, for a few days more, keep autumn at bay.
And just last Friday it was so hot and humid. I went with friends to the opening of Anim’est, an animation film festival, at the newly-renovated Union Cinema for an 8 pm screening. It was still sweltering outside. But by the time we exited the theatre two hours later, it was cold, windy, wet. Yesterday was even colder, windier, wetter.
Driving conditions have worsened. I can’t remember the last time it rained here, and evidently neither can anyone who drives these slick streets (pedestrians beware). Yesterday afternoon I was in the back of a cab, staring rather gloomily out the window at piața Romană, contemplating this blogpost and trying to ignore the cab driver, who kept looking back at me, “hei, domnul, ai gagică?” “Nu.” “Vrei?” “Nu.” “Ai înțeles?” “Da.” I’m thinking to myself, please turn around and stop at this red light, now! Which he just does, screechingly and in the middle of the crosswalk. Half a second later there’s another screech, followed by a wham! We’re rear-ended. It was a Mercedes (of course), which I could identify by the grill the guy was clutching in his hands as he stormed up to the cab. Fuck it. Got out, paid the cabbie (I even had the nerve to ask for the change), and walked home in the rain.
Yes, autumn is here. Alas, the Indian summer will arrive before too long (I’m holding out for Wednesday), and we’ll all move back outside to soak in the last vestiges of warm weather and sunlight. The girls will take out those light, loose, sleeveless dresses one last time… and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.