Tuesday, September 25, 2012

a day that did not begin well

It was the day after the May Day demonstration on Naxos and whatever mellow feelings might have lingered from the Communist rally were chased away by the noise of unmufflered motorcycles in the narrow streets of the port.   They further compounded their offense by being dirty, chipped and dinged.  Have these people no pride in their machines?  One respects pride in effort, however misplaced we may think its object, but these bikes seemed to be nothing but poorly-maintained noise-makers.  I prayed to Apollo Far-shooter that he shower his darts into the camp of the loud-motorcycled Achaïans.

Beautiful as the island might be, the port was getting on my nerves.  In addition to the loud motorcycles, there was the constant yelling that seemed to accompany even the simplest activity (I am sure some would call it "liveliness").  That morning a taverna owner kicked a stray kitten down the street as if it were a soccer ball, oblivious to the shocked reactions of his customers.  There was the debris casually thrown into the clear water of the harbor and the swarms of unbarbered backpackers.  Even fishermen flailing live octopi against the stone wharf, which I once thought merely colorful, now appalled me.  For about seven dollars I rented a small motor scooter, intending to escape into the countryside.
But my plan failed.  The motor scooter was as loud as the motorcycles that had irritated me in the town and I found myself riding through a beautiful rural countryside wrapped in an unescapable cloud of noise.  My mere presence desecrated the country around me.  After a half-hour I returned the scooter.  The fellow asked if I wanted my money back, but I said it was my problem, not his.  Some days are like that, but fortunately the day wasn’t over yet.

Walking back from the bike rental I came to the small square and saw a familiar face.  It was Hanne.  I don’t think I have mentioned her before, though she figures in my story and I will tell about her sometime, but at the moment I was just delighted to see her, totally beautiful Hanne.
She had just arrived on a ferry and had a few hours before she would have to leave again and so we sat at a table in the square and talked and I was delighted to be in her company.  We must have made a fine spectacle sitting there, as some older Greek men at a table across the square sent over a bottle of wine and toasted us, or perhaps they were only toasting totally beautiful Hanne.
Then the time came for her boat to leave and we walked down to the pier and said good-bye again.  It was evening and as I turned back toward the town the lights were coming on and another day had ended well.

No comments:

Post a Comment