Oh God! I can’t believe someone else said this — drafts and the Balkans

26 Feb

There’s so much to write about this that I don’t know where to start!

They actually believe — these are otherwise intelligent, educated people — that air currents of any kind will get you sick. They believe that a current can hit a particular part of your body and that you will get sick or cramped in that specific place. Taxi drivers used to have the best one: they were convinced that air coming from the open window of the right rear seat hit them right on the right side of the neck, so if you were the passenger you had to keep your window closed in 90 degree plus heat (and before air-conditioning) or the driver would flip out on you because the next day he would have a stiff neck right at that point. And it would be all your fault.

In Attica, which has the world’s most paradisiacal climate, nicer than even the Aegean islands, in big open marble rooms with gigantic windows, the second it goes below 70F everything slams shut and gets locked. (In this case, the fear of drafts becomes allied with the equally neurotic fear of robbers so that locking up house for the night becomes an elaborate ritual that would test the patience of a Hindu priest or the Kohanim at the Temple; believe me, if the scary Albanian feels like getting into your house he will; Albanians have a God-given persistent way of doing whatever they feel like; it’s just that they feel like so seldom.)

It’s like bleeding a patient in the Middle Ages with cutting or leeches or something. “Oh, we bled the patient but he died anyway.” No, the patient died because you bled him. I dread going on long car trips with friends or relatives here because someone is always cold and the windows have to be shut. So at the beginning of the trip one person might be coughing, so you close the windows and at the end of the trip everyone is coughing. “We grabbed it” — as the expression goes — even though they closed the windows. No, we all “grabbed” it because we closed the windows and we’ve all been breathing the same stale air for the past five hours.

I used to open the windows by the treadmills at the gym I used to go to in Pagrati. “But we’ll be sweating” this poor, terrified girl finally had the courage to say to me once. Yes, and sweating is the body’s way of maintaining healthy temperature so that you don’t die. Finally, everyone just moved over when the crazy American showed up.

Then they go to their doctor at a drop of the hat, who gives them antibiotics at a drop of the hat, and that just compromises their immune system worse. I know people here who do at least one course of antibiotics every winter. And that’s insanely unhealthy!

They take such tender care of themselves and they’re all always sick. And they never thought to investigate that paradox.

He dicho. Thanks for letting me rant, Mr. Esteso.

Comment: nikobakos@gmail.com

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