FaceTime is messing up my life. Last Monday I left Greece, making 2015 the first time in a decade I won’t be spending August on Mykonos. That alone is a downer. But then I have my Mykonian buddies making sure not to pass up any opportunity of reminding me of my misfortune.
As if endless barrages of photos and film clips showing quintessential Aegean island scenes were not insidious enough, there is now the daily FaceTime call, with happy faces popping up posed against familiar Mykonos haunts, and cheery voices (orchestrated for sure) asking me, “So tell us, Jeffrey, how’s the weather in New York?”
Brutal, simply brutal.
No, not the weather (at least not yet), I’m talking about those callous FaceTiming souls I need not name in order for them to know the error of their ways. And believe me, summers on Mykonos offer oodles of err to attribute to their ways.
I guess I should be flattered and take all their attention as a sign that they miss me—rather than as the cautious among them merely seeking confirmation that I’m finally off the island, like plague. :)
I must admit FaceTime is a godsend of a way to stay in touch. My daughter and two-year-old granddaughter did it practically everyday I was away, making the baby’s jump to two and a half not all that startling. Proximity helps keep events in perspective.
Which got me to thinking about my feelings on leaving Greece. I felt as if I’d walked out on my family in the midst of a crisis, if not a full-blown disaster. Though my return to the USA had nothing to do with events in Greece, and my remaining behind would not have made an iota of difference, I still felt deeply uncomfortable at leaving.
But a strange process has taken hold. I’m not sure if it’s sheer physical distance or a burst of insight that’s responsible for my thinking, but what I sense is that a good many Greeks in Greece and I share the same perspective at the moment: We have absolutely no idea what the future will bring—and are taking a time out.
We just don’t want to think about the hard realities. We’ve been stunned, if not shocked, by a government doing the direct opposite of what it so often solemnly promised to do, a Parliament passing measures with the far left, center, and far right aligned in common cause on matters literally unimaginable a blink of an eye ago (and denounced as wrong by practically every lawmaker voting for them), ministers now welcoming with open arms (?) the very same foreign financial “overseers” they once denounced as occupiers (though due to “security concerns” they’ve not yet found a suitable place in Athens for the reunion), a barely functioning banking system, a 400% increase in illegal immigrants flooding across the nation’s borders, etcetera, etcetera—all amid political egos far more comfortable with displays of public masturbation than in doing what they must in private to assure the chance of a better future for the people they’ve sworn to serve.
It’s almost too much to take. And so Greeks in Greece are suspending serious thinking on the subject. Instead, they’re focusing on getting through August, the month at the very heart of the nation’s tourism—the biggest driver of Greece’s economy. September will be here soon enough.
The question is, will the government? And, if so, in what shape? Oh, and let’s not forget the 3.2 billion euro payment due the European Central Bank on August 20th.
But I digress.
Happy August everyone…no matter where you’re enjoying it. Kalo mina.