Monday, May 21, 2012


I scan the news online, I look at my FB page, I see the turmoil in Chicago: heads split open, thousands of marchers on Michigan Avenue, I want to be there too. But - alas - I am here.

In the morning Mom and I go to St. Lazarus Square for a cappuccino and the newspaper. A fountain stands in the center of the square surrounded by cafes and restaurants. Finally a sunny and warm day brings everyone out this Sunday. Where is the crisis?

Transistor Bistro's party is a delightful surprise. Katerina plays an eclectic selection of tunes from Lila Downs to Mozart and from Rufus Wainwright to Bee Gees. New and old friends come by. My friend Evelyn and her husband appear suddenly behind me. OMG! I met Evelyn in 1971 when I first arrived in Chicago. That's a long time! She moved back to Greece in the 80s which means I only see her sporadically. Mom doesn't even recognize them. Who are they? she says. Mom, I say, it's Zach and Evelyn. They look familiar she says. Finally she figures it out. We laugh.

Maria, Samantha, Chrisa, my cousin Andoni with his family help me feel welcome. We talk (more like scream since the music is kinda-loud), we drink sangria, white wine, beer. I eat bruschetta and mom orders linguini. We dance some, more people arrive (not for me). Where is the crisis?

The discotheque in an old section of Athens attracts 20 somethings who drink and smoke (a prominently NO SMOKING sign displayed above the bar notwithstanding). Graffiti decorates the walls all around the cafe, impossibly narrow streets parked with cars (how do people drive and park here is a total mystery). Where is the crisis?

Around 11:30 pm we take a taxi, come home. I go to sleep around 1 in the morning. I am not used to these hours. I am not used to getting up at 10 in the morning. Hours are turned upside down here. Yet people are out trying to enjoy every minute. I will too.

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