Thursday, August 04, 2005

Die Ruinen von Athen

I have been meaning to write about good things in the Outpost. In the meantime I have spent some days in Athens (Greece, of course, not Georgia) where three things struck me:

The powerful rudeness of the people. I have been to Paris many times and I have lived in London; I know that people in big cities tend to be 'unforthcoming' (as my Sensei used to put it), but Athenians can be horrifically rude, callous and arrogant at the same time. Maybe they exhausted all their politeness and respect potential during the magnificent Olympic year 2004 and now they just cannot muster together any shreds of civil behaviour whatsoever. Examples ("always give examples", Sensei used to say) abound, but are all too context-dependent to cite: Athenians are malicious, but (relatively) subtle.

Yes, they are rude: bus passengers, shop assistants, cops, drivers (sweet lord! I must never again complain about Outpost drivers and driving!), (some) waiters, bus drivers -- and so on. Polite individuals in Athens truly stand out as beacons of enlightment and compassion. In this respect, I prefer the passive-aggressive (should I say 'peasant'?) non-confrontational ways of Outposters. At the end of the day, passive aggression (is this the term?) can be effective only if you actually pay some attention to the person exercising it. Whereas straight aggression is all-pervasive and in-your-face...

A second thing, the moaning about heat. Like Romans (reciting the 'fa caldo' mantra on any given occasion during the summer months), Athenians fear only one thing weatherwise, the legendary, but rare, heatwave ('kausonas'); they fear it irrationally intensely and more than god-fearing Americans fear men with beards, white powder in envelopes and teenage sex with gay abortionists. It is irritating. They don't know what heat is. In the summertime they get high temperatures but low humidity and breezes. They don't know what prompt suffocation due to crazy humidity feels like (one of the bad bad things about Boston, quite common in the Outpost, too). Throughout August, there is even a seasonal mistral-like wind blowing, dissipating humidity and clearing the atmosphere from dust -- we should be so lucky in the Outpost. Still, they just whine, whine, whine about the heat, heat, heat.

The third thing: the rudeness of the people... oops.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I hate to break the news to you, but it's not the "Outposters" or the Athenians or the Romans or the Bostonians. It's everyone, everywhere. There will always be rude and uninteresting people around you, wherever you are. And in the same way, if you are lucky enough (and deserve it), you will be equally likely to meet that rarely unique person that can make a real difference in your life.

So I would suggest that you waste less time posting these trivial observations, which are also likely to offend someone who is not willing to invest enough time to think about your motives for writing it, and instead try to identify the more interesting and memorable people, events, objects, whatever around you. The message sent will definitely be more pleasant and of greater value (intellectual, aesthetic, practical, linguistic or what have you).

I know, freedom of speech and all that, but this is my suggestion.

At least that's what i think...

6/8/05 01:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PS. Αμάν, πολύ ζέστη ρε παιδί μου, καύσωνας... 38 θα φτάσουμε είπε στις ειδήσεις! πω πω πω...

6/8/05 02:07  
Blogger The Passenger said...

No, there are indeed differences between different people in different countries.I've been to England and Scotland and I can honestly say that Scottish people, either in shops,in taxis or in restaurants are plain nicer than the english.

I haven't been to Athens in ages so I don't remember if people are indeed more rude than people in the outpost.Do taxi-drivers in Athens still refuse to take you somewhere if they don't feel like it or have they stopped? :)

6/8/05 20:25  
Blogger The Passenger said...

Loxias, another house in my area is nearing completion and guess what?

It has shutters :)

6/8/05 20:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

a) Sorry, Ozy, but your experiences in Scottland and England are statistically insignificant. And they also contradict my statement so I obviously had to find an argument for dismissing them :-) But most importantly they are beside the point. My point was not about demographics, it was about attitude.

b) Don't forget that A person who is nice to you but rude to a waiter, is not a nice person. .

6/8/05 20:40  
Blogger Dr3amPush3r said...

Thats a reading for my wife.
Anyways, I was talking to a friend of mine the other time, over the phone.
The conversation was friendly and in Greek,when I finished
my wife looked at me and she said
"you are so rude".
No I told her "I'm just Greek"
It all the crap we growing in since we are born.So much of it..
What do u expect.

30/8/05 08:38  

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