Sunday, June 6, 2010

Mission One.

My self-given mission was to learn a song in a new language. I chose one that Despina was kind enough to introduce to me, George was kind enough to translate for me word by word.

Τι τα θέλεις τα λεφτά,
Nα τα κάψεις, τι τα θες,
Χέρια αλλάζουν τακτικά ,
Mήπως τα ΄χες κι από χτες,

Γλέντα τη ζωή, Γλέντα τη ζωή,
Όλοι δυο μέτρα παίρνουν γη,
Τα λεφτά είναι δανεικά,
Xέρια αλλάζουν τακτικά,

Why do you want money? Burn it. What do you want it for?
enjoy life there is no life, money is always borowed it changes hands all the time...

 I love it.

It's been recommended with twenty five tall glasses of ouzo, whirling skirts on tabletops, fingers snapping, hands clapping, plates crashing, and you're gone. Who needs money?

Today I sat with George and a new guy, Panos, (another one) a taxi turned limo driver who speaks several languages, has a soulful approach to living and an easy way about him that is very unlike the majority of the taxi/limo driver workforce.
Naturally we're roping him in. We talked about work and some light, "getting to know you" banter over a grisly pile of fried little fish. I mean I think we wiped out a colony.

In spite of his multiple languages, he says he prefers Greek, thanks to the fact that it is just so rich. Honestly if someone asked me about the Greek language right now I would just start whining: It's Just so HAAAARD!"

But he insists that now he really doesn't stretch himself in his other languages. He finds everything he needs to express himself in the Hellenic tongue, regardless of it being the mother language.

We also got to talking about Athens. What's good about it, anyway?

"In Athens you are always learning. It is guaranteed. You will learn something new every day, and you will become tougher each day you survive."

Maybe you think that's a bit dramatic but I'm starting to understand. The key is to focus on the little pleasures, the sparkle. It might get you killed by a speeding motorcycle but you will have died smiling.

I'll leave you tonight with a list of the things I saw today that took me off guard and added fairy dust to the moment.  When the list become recognized as a literary genre, I'm going to win a prize. I can feel it.

*A crowd of naked mannequins on the street corner. On first glance it looked like someone was making a social statement on nudity. On second glance, it was just a shop redoing its window.

*A full on, wild west fist fight. Two men came spilling out of the Deseo Cafe, bar stools thrown, glasses smashed, Leanna screaming at them to cut it out. Everyone in the neighborhood poked out of their holes like prairie dogs to watch the action.

* A snail in a pothole.

* An accordion player, joweled and fitted with square eyeglasses, a straw hat, singing in a voice like sun-hardened clay. He sat on a wicker stool against a yellow wall with red graffiti. Maybe the world's most social busker, he would sing six notes and then start chatting with a passerby.
If I had to say one reason I want to learn Greek, it's so that I can strike up a conversation with him one day. Maybe he'll let me accompany him on fiddle.

* Fairies made of copper wire hanging from a ceiling in dozens.

* A Mexican restaurant. The kind you would find in Laredo. Hole in the wall, metal tables, gunshot kitchen strung with vinyl red, green and white flags: Viva Mexico!