Thursday, 12 February 2015

Two bags full

My brief annual spells in Athens (one weekend in winter, assisting a local sports club to manage their team) take me to the same places. Unfortunately, I don't see much of the city of Athens at all, which is a shame, because last weekend was such a sunny one, and Athens would have been in her best form under all that sunshine. If I look at things from the outside, then the sky, the buildings, the people, the roads, the metro... they will look much like they looked the last time I was there. They don't change much at all. To see what is different, you need to 'read between the lines' in order to comprehend the fuller story.

These two bags full of Greek pastries like tiropita, tsoureki, stafidopsomo, and other delicious-looking bread/filo-based treats will look very tempting to most people.
But the pastries were stale - I could tell just by looking at them, as they remained so rigid in that flexible plastic bag. They were badly packaged and some were broken, before they had even been placed in the bag. If they had been bought, they would have all been placed carefully into appropriately sized bags with the bakery's logo - more than two, that's for sure - with a paper napkin wrapped around each one, and a few other napkins placed in the bag.

The man carrying the bags was standing in front of me on the ilektriko*. He had hopped in at one stop, and hopped off the next one, which gave me a very short period of time to observe him. His clothes were dirty, and they smelled. No doubt, he was picking up some food from a place where he knew he would find it. I don't think he would be eating it all himself - he was really quite slim. Because the bags were so full, I presume that he had not eaten any of the contents yet. He was probably taking the bags to some place where there would be others to share it with, people in the same position as himself.

I suppose it's a fair comment to make if I say that he would not be going hungry today. But I can't guarantee that he (or the company that he keeps) is not homeless.

*ilektriko - the oldest metro line in Athens, running south-north from the port of Pireas to Kiffissia.

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