Never was a more perfect climate wasted on so undeserving a people: how Greeks drive you nuts

24 Sep

Hymettus Athens half-zoom-set-sun

After two months of brutal mid-90s and freakish humidity, it finally dropped to low 80s the day before yesterday.

And they’re cold, the whiney brats.

The feel of the air is crisp and cool.  The sky is its normal dazzling blue.  The oleander and jasmine and basil smell.  The pomegranates are ripening.  Soon there’ll be a landslide of oranges.  And forgive the cliché but the light, especially at lower angles, is working its magic again and creating all sorts of optical illusions.  There’s something about the clarity it creates that seems hyper-real or surreal.  It makes it impossible to judge distance for one: the mountain that you know is forty kilometers away looks like you can reach out and touch it; the eucalyptus tree in the yard looks like it’s at the opposite end of a football field.  No way to convey it photographically.  Everything looks totally clear yet almost flattened and two-dimensional at the same time, like an icon or a Persian miniature or a shot from a super zoom, where all optical levels and distance are reduced to one plane.  Plus it makes the ugly grayness of Athens look blindingly white.

The beauty all around is completely lost on them.  Take out your heavy hoodies, roll up the car window so that the draft doesn’t give me a stiff neck tomorrow.  They actually believe that, that drafts hit and freeze a certain body part that then hurts you for an x number of days.  Especially lethal is the rear passenger side window in a taxi.  So they run to the doctor at the slightest sniffle who gives them a beer stein of antibiotics to guzzle and that compromises their immune system even worse.  And then when they’re seriously ill five or six times every year they wonder how it’s possible because they stayed out of drafts and wore a scarf.

A screaming match in the gym by the treadmills.  She wants to close the windows.

“We’ll be sweating”, she says.

“Yeah, hon’ we’ll be sweating.  And sweat rising to your skin and drying up upon air contact is the body’s natural cooling system without which we would die.  That’s why dry climates, like this, are so comfortable and humid ones are not.”

Yok.  Now people just stay away from the treadmills when the crazy American comes.

“Stay away from the window, you’re all sweaty, you’ll get sick.”

In twenty-first century language: “It’s better to sit in your sweaty post-workout clothes, even if they’re a better environment for breeding bacteria, than to let them be dried by a draft.  Then when you get sick, wonder why.”

But as Swift said, it’s impossible to reason a man out of something he was never reasoned into in the first place.  Cold doesn’t cause colds?  Germs and bacteria that flourish in a sealed environment do?  Forget it.

“I like my mediaeval ideas, ok…” says the Right-wing Old Fart, the I-don’t-want-to-s of someone argued into a corner.  Like the “I didn’t like it” of the Macedonian.

Wish I knew wtf neuroses like these are about.

Feel the coolness of the perfect Attic night falling.  Then watch the giant Hollywood Hills windows onto the beautiful sweeping marble terraces roll shut like a prison gate and then be shuttered and boarded up on top like the zombies will get in otherwise.

And weep.

Oh, and the security door fetish.

They have their other charms, I guess.

Athens gross concrete

Comment: nikobakos@gmail.com

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