Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Desensitisation (Aπευαισθητοποίηση)

I have just returned from a walk back to the service agency for my car. It's close to work, so I dropped the car off this morning, and I picked it up during my lunch hour. I like walking, in full knowledge that it is the only exercise I get and the only one I enjoy because I am a good walker with great stamina, and I can take interesting photos at the same time, which also gives me some time to contemplate on my life lived so far.
Today, for example, as I started on my short walk (not much longer than 10 minutes), I thought about what a shitty day it has been for me. I had just left the office after an electricity disconnection, which meant that my computer shut down automatically and I literally lost all the work that I had done on the horrendous translation I had been working on for the last hour or so. Some computers are connected to a UPS, others aren't; my computer clearly isn't.) I had called a technician to help me find the files (two of them, dangit), but for the time being, they they seem to be lost in cyberspace. Not that this is a major issue - I can re-translate this see-are-ay-pee all over again, but it was really boring, and that's what annoys me even more. The thought of starting all over again gave me a natural interruption to go for a walk again, like I did this morning, when I left the car at the service agency.
As I walked along the dull, dirty, dusty - and rather dangerous - road that links, the main town of Hania with the seaport of Souda (from where the overnight ferries to Athens leave), I considered the thought that this road must have caused most of our 850,000 (so far this year, which still has 2 1/2 months to finish) tourists a lot of agony as they were driving along it. For such a highly used road, it's very narrow and the footpath is cracked below the extra-large eucalyptus trees which line it on one side. Thank goodness our visitors don't know what a nuisance - and an even greater danger - these trees present in the winter when their branches break off during our infrequent - but rather heavy - storms, raising the risk of serious accidents and cluttering the roads during periods of high-risk driving conditions.

As I passed the eyesores that the Souda road is full of, it occurred to me that these dull depressing sights really didn't bother me in the slightest. I really don't care if the road remains like this forever; at any rate, I do not expect things to change in this sector during my lifetime. It's just some of the things all of us accept - or perhaps, better phrased, are resigned to accept - about our hometown. Everyone lives like this in Hania, even the rich and well-to-do, as I recently found out when I dropped my daughter off to a party in another part of town. The villas in the area, with their grassy lawns and swimming pools, their marquee tents and wallpapered walls, their unused kitchens and spacious σοφίτες* - they are all surrounded by unpaved narrow roads, unfenced olive groves, meowing stray kittens, and trash-lined pastureland.
To live in Greece does not mean that you must lower your own standards of living. Your perceived standard of private living will be much higher than what it will look like to the naked Western eye. To live in Greece means that your public standards of living have simply become desensitized to the point that nothing shocks you anymore. You are constantly reassured by the knowledge that you don't actually live like this in your own world. This is simply what it's like in the outside world.
σοφίτες, cf σοφίτα (so-FI-ta): attic, upper-storey rooms, above the main living space, below the ceiling, copied in the style of 'posh' Western homes. 

Bonus photo: the garden below is the same one as in the above photo.
(Better get back to work now, even though it's been a rather difficult day, and week for me. last week's electrical storm left us with no internet at home, hence my blogging absence. After today's lost efforts, I decided that, for the sake of my sanity, I should not immediately get back to my lost work - I can afford to write an interim blog post, before the new modem arrives.)

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