Monthly Archives: April 2013

Crash

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I went through a truly Greek rite of passage a few weeks ago and crashed my car. As of late I am exploring some job options which takes me to Maroussi a few times a week before my ‘day job’ hours kick in. It’s a bit crappy that I have to go all that way as with my driving it takes me around 40 minutes each way, but beggars can’t be choosers in this economy. And anyway, I at last decided to leave my job and am doing something about that, but that’s a story for another post.

One particular day, I was driving back from Maroussi when I found myself in a tunnel on the highway. To cut a long story short, I got spooked by the actions of another driver and overcompensated on the wheel, causing me to run into the tunnel wall and scrape alongside it, screaming and trying to work out what happened at the same time. When I regained control of the car, I pulled over the first chance I got. The nice thing was that several other cars pulled up to check if I was okay. From behind, I must have looked like I was on a suicide mission, or had fainted at the wheel or something.

Luckily I didn’t cause any damage to anyone else. And even more luckily the little man wasn’t in the car with me. I was not hurt at all and the major damage to the car were dents, scraped paintwork and a lost wing mirror.

And then in a stroke of genius I decided to make up a grand story for Mr Zeus to save my own embarrassment of not being careful enough. It went something like this:

Me: I crashed the car
Mr Zeus: Okay, how?
Me: This guy just bashed into me as I was getting on the motorway! He took my mirror off and everything
Mr Zeus: Did he stop to give you his details?
Me: No, he just took off.

This is quite unusual in Greece and caused Mr Zeus concern so he went to check the car and came back grave faced.

Mr Zeus: That guy was on a mission to kill you or something
Me: Tell me about it!
Mr Zeus: I’m going to the police. CCTV must have caught him if you were getting on the highway.
Me: ….

Mr Zeus left and called me a few moments later from the insurance brokers, and at that point I had to come clean and admit it was all my fault. Which was a billion times worse than just having admitted it in the first place. See what I mean about not acting like myself lately? I don’t know what possessed me to tell such a fancy lie!

Anyway, long story short is I am still driving to Maroussi every few days, without one wing mirror, and trying to ignore the hefty sum my lapse in concentration is going to cost us at a time when hefty sums are in short supply. Besides, I think the bashed up car is making other drivers keep their distance from me, which can only be a good thing!

It was inevitable that driving in Greece I would eventually have a crash. At least it was all of my own doing. Greece regularly used to come at the top of the table for annual European road fatalities but in recent years has dropped to fourth, as sign of the crisis perhaps with people driving less?

Anyway, Bubble Pop! It’s Friday!

Spring and Other Things

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I think about this blog a lot even if I don’t write that much any more. The truth is I have been meaning to, but only just managed to crawl back out of the deepest depression I have ever experienced. It struck in December, when my life seemed to be turning into one slow train crash. All I could do was watch as the carriages crumpled into each other in slow motion and think “How did I get here? How do I get out?”

Under the unbearable strain of facing your own child’s mortality, work and money troubles piled their ugly faces in and before I knew it I didn’t even know who I was any more. I went through the very classic getting up in the morning and wishing I hadn’t. I didn’t want to get out of bed for anything or anyone. I cried all the time. I still cry very easily. Simple questions like what to have for dinner made me feel like my brain was going to explode. I stopped answering my calls. All the plants in my house died and I didn’t notice them dying until I began to feel better and said “What happened to the houseplants?” To which Mr Zeus replied “You happened.”

It was as if my brain had looked around and said “You know what? Fuck this shit. I’m taking three months off.” I lost all ability to make decisions, to plan, to think beyond the next five minutes. Not taking time off work during this might not have been the greatest idea. But I knew no other way to cope.

It was horrible, terrifying. I don’t know if it will happen again. I’m hoping it won’t but I am ready to anticipate the signs if it does.

So what have I been doing since? Not much. I rarely have time for my usual hobbies of dancing and trips out with friends. I’ve been watching a lot of TV and making bitchy comments at MasterChef. You know that episode where they were set a challenge to cook Indian food? I said to Mr Zeus “I would have been done in about 30 minutes and sat back doing my nails”. Yeah, try doing the same if they assigned Ethiopian food, smarty pants. It reminded me of this slot from a show I used to love in the UK, Goodness Gracious Me:

Oh hilarity! For those of you born after 1995, this is what MasterChef used to look like before they tried to make it sexier. The presenter they have this year on the Greek MasterChef should just stick to her day job, which is as a music presenter on MAD TV. If I were a contestant, I would happily have shoved her face into a pan of roasting chillis every time she whined “Guys, you’re running out of time, faster! I don’t think you’ll manage!” Thanks for the support, love. Please, just don’t talk and remove your dead-pan eyes from before me.

In an amusing turn of events, the cast rode through the show to the semi final episode, and then all went on strike because they haven’t been paid. Fair enough. By the time the final airs, I doubt either semi finalist will even care any more.

I also went back to the Home Country, taking the little man and Mr Zeus with me. I haven’t been back in six years and the urge to go would not leave me alone any more, so I went. And it was great, we all came back without getting malaria, kidnapped or blown up. That’s always a bonus. One of the first things that Mr Zeus noticed is that Pepsi have totally swiped the market in the Home Country, leaving Coke lagging far behind. Not surprising when I caught site of a few bottles with their new feel-good coroporate bullshit, like “Share with Someone You Don’t Know” or “Smile at a Stranger”.

Hmmm, is market research a term you’re familiar with, Coke? That’s some of the dumbest advice you can give in the Home Country. You can’t just take an add campaign and run it around the world without any thought to local ideologies. How about “Don’t be a Terrorist” or “Stop burning effigies all the time” or “Sort yourself out with some democracy and not the same old recycled idiots that have ruined your country over and over again”.

On the day we visited the country’s art capital, which is usually more relaxed than the rest of the country, a political rally was taking place. The guy holding it had bussed in people from the most conservative areas of the country, transforming the city into what looked like a Taliban congression. I wanted to visit a certain shrine, and didn’t even get close enough. “The city doesn’t usually look like this” my cousin said apologetically to Mr Zeus. Later when we sat down for dinner in a restaurant, the younger cousins complained that their mobile signals were jammed. This is a common practice in the Home Country at political rallies, to stop bomb detonations by mobile phone, or something. “I have a signal!” shouted Mr Zeus. I checked my phone. So did I! There you go, trouble makers of the Home Country. Just get a foreign SIM card and your woes will be over.

Towards the end of my trip, which was all too short at only 7 days long, we spent a little time in my village. The sun had begun to set and after I prayed at the graves of my grandparents and uncles, I stood watching the fields of wheat swaying in the breeze. These were my childhood sea breezes and waves. There also used to be a vast river where we’d go for day trips and play in the sand. But the river has dried up completely now, the source being in a neighbouring country that has dammed it off. This river runs no more. But we had a sea of wheat. It was hard standing there under the mango tree I’d climed as a child, thinking of how much has changed for me, and fearing for the future as well as daring to be hopeful for it. It was like going back to zero and resetting my compass. I let the tears flow freely.

Well, I’m back now in more ways than one. I hope I’l be blogging more often.