As Greece celebrates the 200th anniversary of its War of Independence, you can expect to read many an article examining the evolution of the nation since it was nothing more than a steely glint in the eyes of a few brave revolutionaries.
These articles will be written by learned authors and will draw on things like “facts” and “historical sources” to make cogent arguments grounded in “reality”.
This is not such an article.
This article will not cautiously explore the old lanes of the past. It will boldly leap off the cliff of knowledge, turbo-charged by the raw power of baseless speculation.
It will be a dream of the future, wrapped in the enigma of the unknown, ordered as a numbered list.
Its prophecies will be positively Delphic, in that they will make no sense and be probably of very little use.
So gird your loins and strap on your jet packs because we are time-traveling 200 years into the future.
Here are 32 predictions for what Greece will be like in the year 2221 AD:
1. After workers stumble across yet more archaeological finds, the completion of the Thessaloniki metro will be delayed for another 10 years.
2. The completion of an important phase of restoration works on the Parthenon will finally allow for the launch of a new phase of restoration works on the Parthenon.
3. Despite astonishing medical advances, the perils of cold drafts and the dreaded “psyxi” will remain an ever-present danger in the minds of Greek grandmothers.
4. Cybernetic enhancements will have streamlined communication, giving Greek civil servants sophisticated new ways of saying, “That isn’t the right form”.
5. Greeks will still talk with pride about having won the European Championship in 2004.
6. Leaps in food science will have yielded the Infinite Gyros Machine, but Athenians and Thessalonians will still argue about who makes the best souvlaki.
7. The people of Livadia will stay out of this dispute, knowing that it is they who have the best souvlaki, which means “small meat skewers” and thus has nothing to do with gyros.
8. Transnational cooperation, international diplomacy and rising prosperity will have eliminated the threat of major armed conflicts between peoples across the globe. Yet it will still be wise to avoid getting on the wrong side of a Cretan.
9. Despite there being a machine to meet almost every human need, using a dab of olive oil will remain the best way to get sea urchin spines out of a foot.
10. Learning about their creators’ primitive beliefs and fledgling technological prowess, tourists will wander amid centuries-old ruins of oil refineries and coal-fired power plants.
11. After centuries of investment and careful cultivation, Italian and Spanish olive oil will be almost as good as Greek olive oil.
12. Deeply immersive virtual reality experiences will be common; watching a 2D movie in an outdoor cinema on a Greek island will still be special.
13. Ferry boats will still be too cold inside.
14. Complex political, economic and cultural trends will lead to a flurry of commentators asking, “Is Berlin the new Athens?”
15. Dakos salad, cheese pies and dolmades will remain absolutely unchanged because you can’t improve on perfection.
16. Despite translation software having completely eliminated linguistic barriers, northern European tourists will still misinterpret playful exchanges between Greeks as violent disagreements.
17. A few bones and pottery fragments uncovered during a routine archaeological dig will lead to rampant speculation in the Greek press that the grave of Alexander the Great has been found.
18. Due to the high proportion of Greeks among the crews of merchant spaceships, the phrase “Docking complete” will have been almost entirely replaced by the word “Opa.”
19. The nuns of Mt Athos will hold a major conference to discuss whether they should let the men back in.
20. The sun will still set over Santorini’s caldera, and people will still gather to watch it. And they will still take photos where it looks like they’re holding the sun between their thumb and forefinger.
21. Young Greeks will enjoy summer nights drinking and dancing under the stars to the music of the Doors, Dire Straits, and the Rolling Stones.
22. The predominant architectural style on Mars will be based on that of the Cyclades, and the Greeks will not let anyone forget it.
23. A long-simmering dispute between the Greeks and Danes over feta cheese will finally be resolved via Eurovision.
24. Greeks will still dance in a circle at any opportunity, and press others to do the same.
25. Decades of scientific research will fail to settle the question of whether there is any difference between tsipouro and tsikoudia.
26. British visitors will pause to have their picture taken in front of the Monument of Gratitude after visiting the Acropolis Museum to see the Parthenon Marbles once temporarily removed from Athens by Lord Elgin.
27. The profession of taxi driver will have long been automated out of existence. However, tourists will still find no shortage of Greek men willing to give their opinions on international politics unprompted.
28. Although long considered a safe form of travel, many Greeks will continue to outfit their jet packs with icons of the Virgin Mary and evil eye charms for added protection.
29. Despite hypersonic suborbital flights being a routine form of travel, many Greeks will still clap every time they land.
30. With ever larger numbers of Greek students attending branches of UCL and Imperial College that have opened on the moon, Tupperware will respond to demand from Greek mothers and launch a new line of food containers that can be sent into space.
31. Despite goods and services being moved with unprecedented ease, Greece will remain the only place in the world where one can get a proper frappé.
32. The world may not be a utopia, but it will hopefully be a few steps closer to it. Regardless, whenever the topic comes up, the Greeks will never fail to point out that “utopia” is a Greek word.