Things you notice in Athens at 5:34 in the morning on a Tuesday in June. Or maybe Wednesday.
(Well, I don’t think it was Thursday)
I smell bread.
I see a seagull.
That car is going way too fast.
Does a motorcycle really need to make so much noise?
Who still jogs?
A policeman slathering on suntan lotion rather languorously.
It’s too early to contemplate the use of the word languorous.
The Algerian Embassy is across the street from a hotel-by-the-hour. There must be a Greek word for a hotel where you pay by the hour. It probably sounds nicer in Greek. Only rarely do these hotels turn up on Booking.com. Not that I looked.
(Greek hour hotels look positively intriguing next to the ones you used to find in lower Manhattan before the hedge fund managers took over.)
Evzones in the zone, zone zone.
Roosters are crowing (is that what they do?) in the National Garden. This is normal?
Six green parrots flying over the garden treetops, a trace of sun lights up their wings.
I don’t care how spiffy you look at the bus stop mr Athenian Lawyer, your overdose of aftershave is my next sneeze, and man I’m out of Kleenex
That is the Temple of Hephaestus up there, but I am on a metro car down here. There must be a church somewhere too, because a passenger makes the sign of the cross, but we are straddling the Agora, seems to me what it represents commands more veneration than organized religion.
I command more caffeine. No one is listening, so
The clapping shut of the metro compartment doors gets louder in function of the frappes you have not had time to consume.
I am on a ferry going to an island that begins with the letter S. It is before 7am. Someone has just approached me with a friendly What’s up dude?
Do I have Californian written across my forehead?
I don’t care if you’re Kim Kardashian or Jesus Christ, do not approach with me anything, friendly or not, before 7AM except a pillow.
“Hey dude” I muster. Can I go back to sleep now? Because I just realized I haven’t really slept for about the past five weeks. Athens simply wouldn’t let me.
I stumble toward the boat, so hot, so exhausted and my eyes are already tearing because though it is still just slightly after dawn, the sun is up and the air is a toxic metropolitan poison, let’s admit it. The gods must be smoking, and I’m the fucking ash tray.
Gate E9, Piraeus. Piraeus, my Piraeus, the mighty port and my unknowable ancient brother, who I embrace even though he only ever embraces the sea, filakia, filakia…kisses to the thalassa, the pirates and frigates and desire, even you wouldn’t want anyone this early.
(the ticket is given)
“This is not your boat.”
(this is not my day?)
me: “This not going to S.?”’
“To Mykonos, Mykonos! You boat, over there!”
(U-boat? now I’m really in trouble..)
It is now 6:55AM, and I am still not up, but I am inching out of Athens.
So take care Piraeus, I’m going to take a few more heavy steps, as necessary, in this Hephaestean heat, this anti-caress, because I’m going to see V. on the Island of S.
(even if it takes a submarine)
(even if it’s really this island)
Special thanks to Seajets.