Sunday, May 13, 2012

scribbling intently

On a blustery day on a small Greek island I took refuge in its one, tiny coffee shop.  I sat over against a wall, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible as I sipped my thick Greek coffee and wrote in my journal.  The shop was full of local men loudly holding forth in the way of Greek men about electric bills and the latest villainy of the shipping companies.  I listened only out of the corner of my ear as I wrote about a monastery I wanted to visit on the other side of the island, but I gradually became aware that the subject of their discussion had changed and they now seemed to be talking about me.  The owner then came over and very politicly mentioned that some of the patrons were disturbed by my writing as they suspected that I was writing about them.  The matter was resolved easily enough, as I pantomimed my innocence and desire to give no offense to their gracious hospitality, and so forth and so on, and smilingly put away my journal, silently resolving that someday I would appropriately repay this insolence, if only by not writing about them, that the memory of them might perish from the earth.

Thinking about the matter later I now understand it differently.  The small room of the coffee shop, which I took to be a completely public venue, they may well have considered a more private and intimate space and it was more as if they had found a stranger sitting in their living room, who did not say a word to them but was scribbling intently into a notebook.

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