Saturday, June 19, 2010


38, Voulis street, Ground floor, Athens 10557, GREECE

Everyone is walking very slowly in Athens these days. Helios is feeling downright cocky, thrusting out his biceps and roaring like Hulk Hogan. HEEEEEEEAAAAAT, oppressive and long lasting, starts dialing up around 8:30 AM and goes into 9:00 PM. It just strengthens my devotion to maneuvering the streets in the extremities of the day, the early early morning and the late of the evening. Everything is more chill. Even the taxi drivers and motorcycles seem more relaxed. Deep down in their malaka hearts I'm sure they would still like to mow me down, but they're too sleepy to act on it.

An interesting byproduct of the hot weather is the rash of pretty girls that come out in it. Suddenly the metros, buses, cafes and sidewalks are crawling with lean, leggy babes wearing thin excuses for clothing. Mostly they're not doing it American style, or even European style. Greek girls have a "pretty" all their own, just like Austin girls. Whereas Austin girls have this glow, this spark of life and the perfectly faded jean shorts going on for them, Greek girls are a little more typically girly. Romantic. Their wear flowy dresses and ribbons around their wrists. They've braided their hair. They ears defy gravity, for surely their earlobes should be hanging down to their chinline a la National Geographic with some of these discs and baubles I've seen dangling about, but somehow they keep it all together, looking striking on the sidewalk.

Then there are the more high maintenance ones who still believe that beauty lies in applying blush like sheet metal and high heels as tall as minorets. They're more for the "stuffed in" look, preferring corsets and spandex mini skirts. Don't get the wrong idea, though. It has remained the same for the past two hundred years. Greek girls are good girls, and this is why every female tourist from countries with a "loose" reputation is at risk for getting wooed in a way that will leave her shocked, or melted, or in love and possibly consider changing their address. I'm not thinking of anyone in particular , of course.

And anyway maybe the address changers change their address hundreds of times.

I would like to know where these belles were in the wintertime? Do they stay huddled up together in a communal "beautiful" vault? Are they part nymph, coming out of the woods to flaunt their tawny arms and strappy sandals? How is it that when they get on the A2 bus from the center to the coast, all of those entering know all of the ones already boarded? Is it a secret club? Do they have a "pretty girl" handshake or hair flip?

The mystery may never be solved. We must move on. 

These 100 days I've tried to write my life in part, to create a habit and break down the walls I'd constructed around routine, at least as a concept. I'm not a fan, but I see its usefulness. I've broken all of my rules about saying too much or being careful, keeping some subjects protected. I promise I've broken them, even if you don't realize it. I've tried to focus on writing about things I'm learning or observing, and in the end I'm revealing everything about myself. In a discussion with Despina, who has started uncovering the joys of b*ogging herself, (she spends many of our discussions dreaming up future b*ogs or ones that she wishes she had done instead) she brought up doing a b*og with more meaning than just recording her thoughts and some little things that happened in her day. Current events or strong topics that bear more weight.

The very same day I read the b*og of my fellow O.H.D, who happens to work in a newspaper, wrote how ardently opposed he was to writing about current events or his opinions on the matter. He just doesn't care about what he thinks. He also mentioned, or at least implied, that by not addressing his day to day life in a more direct way, he's been neglecting something necessary.

I don't know what's right, but when I look back on my posts and read the little things that struck me, the headaches I was dealing with, the day to day tone that seems to be following patterns (three days of frustration, four days of happiness, two days of melancholia, etc) I don't know. It gives me some kind of satisfaction because I'm looking back on my journey. My former selves. I feel like I keep blossoming and these little posts are tracking my the circumference of my bloom.

Every once in a while I come across something in this new city of mine which, I believe, I have only recently, officially claimed, and I get a clear flashback to when I arrived. It might be passing the seedy hotel I checked into when the first night, or the tram stop that I took to get to the sea captain's house that fateful summer before. I get flooded with all of the emotions I was feeling at those moments. The careful navigation of the unfamiliar tram, the uncertain anxiety in the hotel room... it's as if I'm wearing that old self on me like a t shirt, the old self just being one, discardable part of this new, more solid, more learned girl that I am. (But I promise in a year I'll be looking back at this version the same way, you see what I mean?)

These are all personal reasons, but one day I'm going to look back and see that I also recorded things that will have disappeared. Blue skies and clear water are just two which I'm nervously chewing my lip over, wondering how much longer this will last. Sure, it's interesting that I'm here in this historical "crisis," but as I've mentioned before, there was a generation that survived much more difficult and notable things; out of those who wrote a few things down, the majority weren't concentrating on their opinion of Roosevelt or the economy. They wrote about their lives. We're not only reading them, we're turning them into films. Songs. Heroes.

So there, in a nutshell, is the reason I'm happy I took on this endeavor. Even if it means I've lost a lot of sleep. Even if I'm suffering from the feeling I'm being watched as I pick my nose (by the way I've been informed that it's NileGuide, not Nile Guide or nileguide, and to that informer I had no idea someone so busy would bother with my little b*og. I'm honored.) I'm happy I did it. I'm happy Mr. OHD joined in and I'm happy I get emails of protests when I miss my 24 hour deadline.

It doesn't mean I'm happy I'm committed to another 35 days. Call me fickle.

Oh, one last thing to wrap it all up. One of my favorite quotes ever is from Gwendolyn Brooks. She says, roughly, she got rid of her mirror a long time ago. She found that when you learn to truly be yourself, people aren't looking at the outside anymore.

She also said " I wrote about what I saw and heard on the street."


Say to them,
say to the down-keepers,
the sun-slappers,
the self-soilers,
the harmony-hushers,
"even if you are not ready for day
it cannot always be night."
You will be right.
For that is the hard home-run.
Live not for battles won.
Live not for the-end-of-the-song.
Live in the along.