Saturday, May 22, 2010

How TV Kills

I've been observing Athens dogs lately. These are the "community" pets everyone is so crazy about when they arrive, because nowhere on earth are the strays so seemingly happy, well fed, well adjusted, intelligent, the perfect dog with the perfect life. They spend all day sleeping in the sun, they wake up in the evening to chase cars, run in packs, eat the food provided by the tavernas or the charity workers, and even if their four to six year life span is a smidge shorter than the 16 year old Golden Retriever who has raised all of the kids in the house, I know which one I would pick.

What I like the most about these dogs is that when you do catch them awake, they are trotting along the sidewalk, crossing at the intersection when the light changes, and generally ignoring all of the hands that bend down to give them a scratch. They've got somewhere to be, someone to see, something to do and there's just no time for a belly rub right now, people. Maybe later. Sorry. It's proof that when you're stimulated, your mind doesn't wander over to the realm of the bored and attention starved regions of the brain. I also find that when I have things to do, people to see, somewhere to be, I'm running. And I'm smiling! I even said it today. "Pou pas, Paige?" "Ego,Treho!"

I darted into Melilotos and wished Kostas a Xronia Pola! And to risk diving into a tangent here, wondered if I wouldn't like celebrating a name day more than a birthday. What would Agia Paige have been like, anyway?

But I dart. I shout. I hugged Despina and promised to return. I ran down the sidewalk, past the corner with the table full of tavli players (who I swear are paid to stay there by the tourism commission board) and GIASSOU to Yanni and Ireni, owners of the laundromat on the corner. Picked up the newly cleaned shirt of George, for George, who was pulling a double shift and had to do a superman-in-the-phonebooth sort of thing and go from casual pink to formal black. I paid the cleaners, stood on the sidewalk and he roared up in B.B. rolled down the window and I passed it straight through. Waved to Vangelis, the owner of the coffee shop. Waved to George the barber. Sometimes it feels like I work on Sesame Street.

Then I went into the office and retreated into thinking land. I thought, I stared at the computer, I thought some more, scribbled on a paper... and after five hours of this I was sick to death of thought and computers.

I swear all of this is getting somewhere.

Once home, my first thought was "paint!" But some other wicked demon grabbed my ear and said, "let go. Relax. Sketch nothing in particular while you're watching TV." I believe this activity is more accurately defined as "doodling."

And honestly, if I had found a nice, epic movie, something with pretty, sparkly colors to keep my eyes sugared, I might have managed to relax a little, but silly me landed on the documentary about Chinese counterfeits and now my life is ruined.

Now I'm aware that the Chinese are not only responsible for ripping off the  heartless gay fashion designers of the world, or even heart-stopped post impressionist painters, but electronics. Computer programs. Breast Cancer medication. Eggs. Yes, eggs. They have discovered a way to take the chicken out of the process entirely and it's actually cheaper. If I weren't so disconcerted about the fact that these eggs have proven to cause dementia when eaten consumed in massive quantities, I would bother my raw food fly girl to find out if that makes it vegetarian.

I don't really care. I didn't even want to know such a thing was being done. And if I had not watched the process with my eyes, step by step being narrated by a cautionary English gentleman, I would have thought this was just another fear tactic thing. Even if it is, it's working. My doodle is something frightful, just a window into my poor, tortured conscience. I'm so full of questions like, "are mutant eggs worse than the feudal system? Would we have been better off living in pig mud and dying at thirty six, already a great grandmother?

But the even more important lesson I am taking from this is that I must avoid the television at all costs. Look at what I lost tonight. A painting, my good mood, and my trust in eggs. Oh to be an Athens dog, chasing cars and sleeping on the steps of hotels. What a world, where they're the lucky ones.