Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Last night I had a dream that my bicycle was stolen. Actually, in the dream as I realized I had no bicycle, I was going back in my memory and found that I had left it at a bus station, forgotten to take it with me, forgotten to lock it, forgotten, forgotten, forgotten, and yet, when I came to the den full of people who were my company (all very detailed faces, voices and characters that I have never in my life met in person) I was raving wilding, tears streaming down my face that my bicycle had been stolen.

To paint a picture of the room full of company, there were two older gentlemen who were symbolically sympathetic and three younger ladies who were more skeptical. One of them was round faced with brown hair and pleasant eyes. Sitting in a flowered armchair she spoke up, and while she was speaking her eyes glowed like little golden nuggets of fire.

"I don't mean to be rude, but I've always found that if you dwell on poison you get sick. So your bicycle got stolen. It's okay. Move on. Smile."

Then she did just that. Smiled. And I felt like a little asshole.
First emotion upon waking was a wave of relief, remembering that my bicycle was safely stowed in the adjacent room. Second was the knowledge that the sweet faced girl had been the voice of what one might call my guiding conscience, my source of light, my angel, reprimanding me for coming out the month of April, a month of challenges and tough lessons, stomping my feet around and complaining. Mostly all day yesterday (pre and post pigeon poop. Certainly not during, which is probably why I enjoyed it so much.)

So, I got the point. Thanks.

Today I gave a walking tour to two smart girls from the United States by way of Berlin. I knew it was going to be a rough day as a) the buses were supposedly on strike. b) at sunrise, the communist party had broken into the Acropolis and draped a giant banner that read "EUROPE RISE UP" scaring away the tourists.

c) I don't know. I just kind of knew.

I also didn't know that one of the girls had a) a hurt foot and b) was diabetic. They decided to save this as a fun surprise for the end when I could hardly even escort them to their train because she was a) limping and b) in desperate need of complex sugars.

We got lost. Correction: I got us lost.

It became clear the usual route wasn't going to work for these girls so I tried to beeline for what would when I noticed an amass of demonstrators and police roping the streets off with tape. We got swept off course and when I say off course, I mean I didn't even know what neighborhood we were in. One of the sisters had to let me borrow her map.

They knew stuff I didn't know. One of them had just reread the entire works of Euripides.
They were making inside jokes about classical studies that I was not privvy to.

Really, my greatest asset was that I held the key to their having photographs of the two of them, together.

Why am I telling you all of this? Am I stupid or something?
Well, I haven't read all of the works of Euripides, but somehow by putting this down here, it makes the events of the day smaller. Maybe when I read them tomorrow I'll have a little laugh.

I will tell you that I walked around all day saying "So my bicycle was stolen. It's okay. Move on. Smile."

Do you know, it helped?

As part of ego-recovery therapy I used buying some vanilla and honey body milk as an excuse to break a fifty, which I then used to buy a scoop of Mastica ice cream.

They are both Greek products, I noticed later. The lotion is a brand called Aravita with an ancient bee as their logo
which  is a symbol found in the palace of Knossos, in Crete.

The Mastiha comes from a tree that will only grow on the island of Chios and has an indescribable taste... something you just have to try when you're in Greece.

I didn't do it on purpose, choosing a Greek lotion over, say, Nivea, and Mastiha over Coffee. Maybe subconsciously I'm filling in the little dent made in my armor of philhellenism, the chink put there by the seemingly ineffective protests and displays of wanton anarchy. And on the other hand, a friend said, "Sometimes I wish sleepy, robotic America would raise a fuss every once in a while." I wonder what the ancient Greeks would say, seeing that sign draped over the Acropolis. Would they sigh, shaking their heads, saying, "We left you in the best possible way we could..."

Or would they applaud?