I woke up from a dream where an old friend, Irene the anthropologist, held a sheet to my chest while I rocked back and forth. She tapped it, shook it, and there was my skeleton. She tsked, “I’ve never seen it so well formed, before, Paige! You should take better care of your bones.”
“But Irene, maybe it’s because we’re in front of the fire?”
And she laughed, because yes, there was a roaring fire in a fireplace you could have fit Hansel, Gretel, AND the witch into along with the woodsman and his second wife.
I want a second cup of coffee.
The first one did the trick of breaking last night’s dream into fragments so I can function with the one of today. The more persistent one fueled now by bananas and peanut butter on taost. I mean toast. (but taost would be lovely with a thin spread of jam and some Te.)
The second one might actually kick me into action.
The birds are so loud I believe they’re starting a revolution. Maybe today is their protest. They’re assembling to show their outrage against the cats who have a superior life in Athens. They prowl the ancient ruins, slip under the sewer grates and dine on fish and chicken left for them by the waiters at the tavernas and the crazy women who think they’re going hungry so they put sacks of cat food in their car and drive all over the city leaving bowls of it in the alleys. The birds, on the other hand, end up as feathered pot-hole covers. Flying rats. Corpulent slobs, subjugating themselves to manhandling thanks to their dependence on free and easy birdseed offered in paper sacks, in front of Parliament.
I saw one such pigeon today. The man selling the birdseed caught the poor li'l feller and handed him to a boy, who had so much fun holding him in his grubby hands, then releasing him the way he's seen it done on tv (with bravado, both arms spread eagle) as the pigeon lurched forward, only to return with hopes of more birdseed. The boy squealed and pinned him to the pavement again by the wings, awkwardly trying to pick him back up and repeat the great effect.
The pigeon came back again.
I said he was manhandled. I didn't say he didn't deserve it.
The cats would just acquiesce. They know they have a superior life. They’re protesting nothing, because when you’re free you have little to complain about.
Took some nice Arizonians through the city today. A job that I thought would start at 7am started at 9:30, resulting in a lot of time sitting in standby position on my bed. Once they're picked up I run down the stairs, out the door, past an angry dog in an abandoned shop that never fails to make my heart leap into my ears, down into the tunnel going under Syngrou where I wave to the same Pakistani who sets up his sunglasses and knockoff purses every workday (I don't know how this relationship started but every single time, we smile and wish each other a good morning) and then to my little place on the median where I wait for Big Black Bus to arrive. Today it arrived so late! There was a little mishap with A's and B's, so close in the alphabet but so far in the port of Piraeus, and I did not meet our friendly Arizonians until when I met them, as seems to be the same time I meet anyone, by the way. Thanks to the solid skills of George they were already in an improved mood, but...
later that day...
the husbands were glowering as the wives lead them through the shop stalls of chintzy Adrianou Street, buying ceramic houses and plastic koboloi. As I saw moods diving into sour waters I proposed to take the men elsewhere, but they didn't accept! So I gave them a meeting point and ran off. I had four plastic bottles in my arms, you see, and it can be tricky finding the BLUE dumpsters, the ones that claim to be intended for recycling. Naive, maybe, but I still believe they get there.
So I made the corner of Apollonos and ran past the religious shops for the Orthodox church, priests darting in and out in their black robes and stovepipe hats,
past the yellow-walled barber shop with the men's faces obscured by clouds of shaving cream,
turned right on Voulis past George the barber in his white coat; he gave me a friendly "dirty old man" once-over going up, down, and back to the eyes while he gave me a sing-song KALIMERA and offered a coffee (at least he offers a coffee!) before returning his attention to the same bunch of tavli players who sit on that same corner day in, day out
... past the fruit markets and the bookstores...
why would anyone want to waste one day in Plaka hanging behind their wives buying plastic koboloi when with just these couple of turns and you see the true face of the city?
Τι να κἀνουμε;
What can we do?
Mission Two: How to turn tourists into travelers.