You may have heard the phrase ‘pe vremea mea’ used a lot over the past few days. It means ‘in my day’ and has been employed by various commentators far from happy at the fact that Bucharest’s schools are closed all of this week due to bad weather (snow and extreme cold).
Now, don’t get us wrong: we think that closing the Romanian capital’s schools for the whole of this week is not entirely necessary. Temperatures are low, certainly (-21°C in Bucharest early this morning), and there is still lots of snow on the ground with more on the way. But then that’s winter in Bucharest. We can remember far worse starts to the year than this (certainly from a snow-depth point of view) when schools were closed for just a day or two, if at all. Droning on about it however, and trotting out stories about how when you were a kid you walked from Siberia to Ferentari every morning with a potato sack for a coat is not the best way to highlight a poor decision.
No, far better is to try and figure out exactly why the schools are closed, and who has most to gain from their closure.
As we briefly mentioned in Sunday’s post we are under the impression that the city’s mayor Gabriela Firea – already with an eye on the Romanian presidency – wants to present an image of a decisive leader keeping the city moving. The absence of school traffic from Bucharest’s streets (particularly in the morning) is a highly effective way of doing just that. All this nonsense about ‘the safety of children in extremely low temperatures’ is bullshit: the schools are closed to keep traffic off the streets. It’s as simple as that.
Meantime, enjoy the rest of the week off, go and play with your kids in the snow and stop banging out about how much tougher life was pe vremea ta.
On the subject of Firea (almost ever-present on Romania’s television screens these past few days) it turns out that the cheap little publicity stunt she pulled at Gara de Nord on Sunday was, surprisingly, just a cheap little publicity stunt.
Presented as a saint-like figure serving hot food to the homeless, it turns out that the poor sods Firea was feeding were not quite as homeless as first appeared: they had been brought to Gara de Nord from a shelter specifically to be fed by our delightful mayor. That there are hundreds, if not thousands of homeless people in Bucharest not currently in shelters who could have done with a warm meal in their stomachs only makes the whole charade worse.